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Trust is key to online engagement

In social media it underlines the value of HCP networks

Online Physician CommunityThe value of HCP networks to people working in and for the pharmaceutical industry was recently underlined in a survey by PMLiVE publisher PMGroup, which found they were rated top – putting them firmly above social networks, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. 

The findings of the Digital Futures survey 2014, are backed up by a study into doctors' online behaviour, which suggests that the phenomenal growth in HCP networks has occurred independently of doctors' participation in open social media sites.

The study, conducted by Elsevier in 2012, found that within the major European markets of the UK, France, Italy and Spain, on average only 28 per cent of doctors were using Twitter and only 38 per cent were registered members of LinkedIn. Even Facebook was poorly represented with just over half of the doctors saying they used the world's largest social networking site.

However, the survey showed that more than two-thirds of those surveyed claimed to be a member of a doctor network with the figure being in excess of 80 per cent for the UK and Italian markets.

While high levels of use by peers might sound a bit 'chicken and egg' because all good doctor networks have to start somewhere, it is of great significance as it imparts a feeling of confidence and trust in the environment. If doctors see their peers and luminaries taking part in an online network, they are far more likely to use it themselves.

This trust is further strengthened by the fact that independent HCP networks offer a secure environment since they can be accessed only by authenticated doctors. This means that members can share sensitive information and openly share their professional opinions with one another in the knowledge that they will not be passed on to anyone else.

Communicating with colleagues in this way is very important hence 99 per cent of doctors say they use independent online networks for this purpose.  However, keeping up-to-date with information is also a key motivation for 66 per cent of members; while accessing online CME and posing a clinical question to a colleague is important to 44 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

The fact that independent online networks can provide these services in a secure and impartial environment is one of the key reasons as to why they are rated second only to medical journals in terms of the levels of trust that doctors place in them.

For more information on, please call Tim Ringrose on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email You can also follow on Twitter: @doctors_net_uk

7th March 2014

From: Marketing



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