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One third of consumers use social media for health discussions

US study by PwC says the public finds answers to their wants, needs and preferences in the social space

The public is using social media to find answers to their health wants, needs and preferences, according to a US study by PwC.

The consultants surveyed over 1,000 people and found that one third used social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums for health-related matters.

Specifically they sought medical information, tracked and shared symptoms, and broadcast how they felt about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.

Kelly Barnes, US health industries leader, at PwC said: "Health organisations have an opportunity to use social media as a way to better listen, participate in discussions and engage with consumers in ways that extend their interaction beyond a clinical encounter. Savvy adopters are viewing social media as a business strategy, not just a marketing tool."

PwC's Social Media Likes Healthcare: From Marketing To Social Business report also found:

  • 42 per cent of consumers have used social media to access health-related consumer reviews (e.g. of treatments or physicians)
  • Nearly 30 per cent have supported a health cause
  • 25 per cent have posted about their health experience
  • 20 per cent have joined a health forum or community
  • 28 per cent were likely to share information with a drug company.

PwC said age is the most influential factor in engaging and sharing through social media, with more than 80 per cent of people aged 18-24 likely to share health information through social media. Moreover, nearly 90 per cent of this age group would engage in health activities or trust information found via social media.

In comparison, less than half (45 per cent) of people agred 45-64 would be likely to share via social media and 6 per cent would be likely to engage in health activities.

PwC's Health Research Institute commissioned the nationwide online survey in February 2011 and it involved 1,060 US adults.

18th April 2012

From: Marketing

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