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Patients want personal engagement – survey

The key findings to come out of a 5,000-patient, five-country study into the ways people engage with healthcare brands...

The key findings to come out of a 5,000-patient, five-country study into the ways people engage with healthcare brands and companies reveals that no single channel, or group of channels, is dominant when providing health information.

While 96 per cent of people asked (in China, Germany, Russia, the UK and US) cite 'my doctor or healthcare professional' as the most credible information source, it was notable that health "influence happens across all channels", according to results from the Edelman Health Engagement Barometer.

Even following consultation with a medic, around one-fifth of people – those informed patients who are actively engaged with health issues – seek validation of the information provided in nearly nine in 10 cases. This means, says Edelman, that for company or healthcare organisation "it is not a matter of whether or not it should be 'in' interactive channels, but a mandate to contribute to the conversation before it gets defined by others".

The survey shows that people desire more active, trusted and personal health interaction with companies and brands. However, companies seeking to engage people on healthcare issues must, above all, address their specific, personal health concerns in order to nurture trust.

"Health engagement and trust fuel each other," commented Nancy Turett, global president, health, at Edelman. "However, engagement is not fully reciprocal – the perceived balance of power is not equal – so companies seeking to engage effectively in health must foster trust."

To do this, the findings suggest, firms should align their activities and priorities with patients motivation and desires – as these are the areas people are most involved and receptive. The top three were revealed as:

• Maintaining my health and wellbeing (74 per cent)
• Solving chronic health problems (66 per cent)
• Preventing disease (61 per cent).

Respondents (all of which were adults aged 18-75) made clear that they would engage more with healthcare companies which address their personal health concerns versus other issues, such as 'innovation' or 'protecting privacy'.

The central message, overall, is: the higher someones personal stake in an issue, the higher their desire for engagement by healthcare companies.

More information is available at: www.engageinhealth.com
To comment on this article, email editor@pmlive.com 

16th October 2008

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