Why we continue Taking the Pulse of U.S. physicians

May 9, 2018 Jeff Greene

Taking the Pulse ® U.S. – the longest-running study of online physician attitudes and multichannel behaviors – celebrates its Sweet Sixteen this year.

My, how the world has changed since 2003.

In our first study, we didn't need to ask doctors how they used smartphones. Or how influential they found apps. Or what questions they were asking Siri.AOL CD-ROM

None of this tech had been invented yet.

Facebook? Forget it. The popular social networks of the day were Classmates.com and Friendster, plus this new start-up called MySpace. Few doctors were partaking.

The insights we sought for our clients reflected technological reality in the early '00s. Looking backward, it feels a little like the digital Dark Ages. I went through Manhattan Research archives and found the questionnaire from that original study. My personal favorites:

  • Does your office have access to the Internet?
  • Do you use a Personal Digital Assistant, such as a Palm Pilot?
  • Which of the following search engines do you use when looking for pharmaceutical information online: Google, MSN, Yahoo!, Excite, Lycos

palm pilotLots of other ancient-sounding terms turned up in that first physician study. Remember these?

  • CD-ROM
  • AOL
  • Dial-up
  • Modem

Dial-up? Modem? I bet most current medical students have never even seen an old dial-up modem, let alone used one to access the Internet at speeds approximately 1,800 times slower than typical smartphones.

Which is exactly why Taking the Pulse is running strong 16 years later. 

The pace of change in how pharma engages physicians continues to accelerate, and surprise. In Taking the Pulse ® U.S. 2018, we've uncovered HCP attitudes toward voice assistants, EHRs, chatbots, AI, and telemedicine. Instead of Excite and Lycos, our analysts weigh in on physician experiences with Allscripts and Amazon. 

Importantly, we're monitoring the effects of content fatigue. With so many channels and too much information, some doctors are checking out.  We found that 40% of U.S. physicians opted out of an email subscription in the past 6 months. Almost 60% said they see too many prescription drug ads when browsing the web.

Meanwhile, the rise of the bots (aka machine learning) makes for an anxious physician: 43% told us they are worried this new tech will rob them of their prescribing autonomy.

Pharmas need to be locked into these trends. Converting digital marketing clutter into useful resources, and restoring a physician's sense of control, could make the difference between a highly successful marketer and one who goes the way of a 2003-model, Cisco dial-up modem.

So, why take the pulse of thousands of U.S. physicians in two dozen specialties every year? Because we haven't run out of questions to ask them. Because our clients want the real story on today's multichannel landscape – unfettered by clickbait headlines or buzzy conference sessions.

Most importantly, because things keep changing. The challenge is to invest and optimize based on where your physician targets are headed next ... not where they've been.

Contact us to learn about Taking the Pulse ® U.S. 2018 and how we help HCP marketers succeed in today's multichannel landscape:

Taking the Pulse ® U.S. offers insights from surveys of over 2,700 physicians across 25 specialties including oncology, rheumatology, cardiology, pulmonology, endocrinology, hospital medicine, surgery, and primary care. For info about the study, which can be segmented and customized based on client needs, please complete the form above or contact Digital@TeamDRG.com.

 

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