Healthcare Professionals Digital Habits

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Healthcare Professionals Digital Habits

Globally, the digital channels used by healthcare professionals in the industry include online journals, direct email, websites, marketing emails, webinars/webcasts, self-directed web detailing, pharma representative emails, live remote detailing, social apps, and text messaging.

Digital Channels Used by Healthcare Professionals

  • In Europe, the most preferred digital channels by the healthcare professionals for professional purposes include website (15%), live virtual event (8%), eNewsletters (7%), mobile app (7%), recorded event (7%), marketing emails (5%), direct emails (2%), social media post (1%), and online meeting (3%). However, in reality, they do not receive interactions as per their preferred channels, specifically in the cases of mobile apps, live virtual events, online meetings, and recorded events.
  • In USA, the most preferred digital channels by the healthcare professionals for professional purposes include website (15%), live virtual event (8%), recorded event (8%), mobile app (6%), marketing emails (5%), online meeting (4%), eNewsletters (4%), direct emails (3%), and social media post (1%). However, in reality, American healthcare professionals do not receive interactions as per their preferred channels, specifically in the cases of marketing emails, eNewsletters, mobile apps, live virtual events, online meetings, and recorded events.
  • Globally, the digital channels used by healthcare professionals in the industry include online journals, direct email, websites, marketing emails, webinars/webcasts, self-directed web detailing, pharma representative emails, live remote detailing, social apps, and text messaging.
  • In the US, the top 3 digital channels used by healthcare professionals for keeping abreast of the latest in the industry include online journals, direct email, and websites. In the rest-of-the-world (ROW) countries, the top 3 digital channels used by healthcare professionals for the same reason include webinars/webcasts, social media apps, and web portals/websites.
  • In Europe, young healthcare professionals spend around 40% more time on digital channels for professional purposes as compared to healthcare professionals aged 60 years and above. The young healthcare professionals segment (aged below 30 years) in Europe spend an average of 75 minutes per day online for professional purposes while professionals in the age group of 30-40 years spend about 71-74 minutes on an average per day. The healthcare professionals in the age group of 50-60 years in Europe spend an average of 64 minutes per day online for professional purposes while those above 60 years spend almost 55 minutes on an average per day.
  • According to a survey conducted by Across Health, around 44% of European healthcare professionals aged 35 years or below engaged with promotional emails in the last 3 months of the survey period as compared to 45% of professionals in the age group of 30-50 years who engaged with promotional emails. The 50+ generation also did not lag behind the rest of the age groups as almost 43% agree that they have engaged with promotional emails.
  • New channels such as tablet e-detailing have a lower reach in Europe as compared to emails as only 15%, 16%, and 13% of healthcare professionals in the age group of 35 years or below, 30-50 years, and 50+ years respectively agree that they have engaged with this channel.
  • In the United States, most healthcare professionals access digital channels between 11 am to 2 pm from Monday to Friday and 8 am to 11 am from Saturday to Sunday. Their second most preferred time slot is between 5 pm to 8 pm on weekdays and after 8 pm on Saturdays.
  • In the rest-of-the-world (ROW) countries, the most preferred time slot of healthcare professionals to access digital channels is between 5 pm to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday and after 8 pm on weekends. Their second most preferred time slot is after 8 pm on weekdays and between 5 to 8 pm on Sundays.
  • Around 96% of healthcare professionals globally agree that "attending more conferences, meetings, and CME events virtually" would be more beneficial for them. The healthcare professionals open about 35% of emails from field representatives as compared to only 3% of emails that are sent by corporate. About 66% of healthcare professionals want "to be able to receive emails from life sciences reps."
  • For peer collaborations digitally, healthcare professionals in the world use independent medical websites (31%) the most, followed by mobile apps (12%) and emails (10%). On the other hand, these professionals prefer traditional ways such as interacting with pharma representatives to access product information and medical resources.

Trends: Increased Usage of Digital Channels

1. Time Convenience

  • There has been an increase in the preferences for digital channels among health professionals globally that rose from 72.86 interest points in 2015 to 82.05 in 2018 as compared to interactions with medical representatives where the trend has appeared to have plateaued.
  • The factors that led to this trend include healthcare professionals struggling with rising administrative work coupled with difficulties in accommodating pharma representatives during office hours. Around 20% of healthcare professionals globally say that they would prefer to have less information in person and 30% say that they would like to access information via digital media.
  • Doctors are much busier today as compared to previous years and are more mobile/tech-savvy than previous generations. And as a result, they would prefer being informed "via their iPad in the comfort of home" instead of allocating special time for meeting representatives or exploring journals. This has led to the rising interest of healthcare professionals for digital channels nowadays.

2. Digital Natives

  • Almost 70% of healthcare professionals will be 'digital natives' by 2020 as this would be the group who "studied medicine at a time when the Internet was already well-established." In Europe, young healthcare professionals spend around 40% more time on digital channels for professional purposes as compared to healthcare professionals aged 60 years and above.
  • The 'digital natives' group in Europe has been showing an increasing interest in multi-channel engagements as a majority (65%) of them would prefer a mix of face-to-face and digital channels. Further, remote e-detailing offers better potential to reach the ‘digital native’ group as it has a higher impact on this segment as compared to the other groups.
  • As a result, the adoption of digital channels for resources, promotional content, and peer collaborations is increasing with "digital natives" generation capturing larger share every year.


Research Strategy

The trends in the research above were selected based on the highest number of mentions on various credible research, medical, and journal websites including Veeva, DT Consulting, Indegene, Capgemini, Across Health, and McKinsey.
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