Physicians and Internet research

From a press release:

    According to Verispan's 2005 ePromotion Annual Study, a significant percentage of physicians spend over 7 hours online each week for any reason (41%), and 44% of physicians spend between 1 and 3 hours online for health research during an average week. One-quarter of surveyed physicians use message boards for medical information.

    With physician Internet usage on the rise, pharmaceutical companies have been using ePromotion to reach doctors. Pharmaceutical companies' ePromotion spending reached $280 million in 2005, increasing 27% over the prior year, according to Verispan's ePromotion Audit, which monitors and tracks online pharmaceutical promotion to physicians.

    Respondents generally felt the Internet had an impact on their knowledge and interaction with patients. Eighty-four percent of physicians responded positively about the impact the Internet has had on their knowledge about medical conditions and new products.

    Additionally, 87% of physicians surveyed reported earning continuing medical education (CME) credits online, compared with 81% in 2004. The percentage of physicians who are earning more than 20% of their CME credits online grew from 31% to 40% in 2005. Not surprisingly, a third of the physicians surveyed reported a preference for earning CME credits online, and of those, 60% reported they would increase their participation in ePromotion over the next 6 months.

    Similar to 2004, 68% of physicians added ePromotion to their face-to-face promotional activities in 2005. The percentage of physicians not participating in ePromotion has continued to decrease since 2003. Online events replaced virtual details as the most-preferred format online promotion in 2005. This shift correlates with physicians' requests for honoraria and is self-explanatory, since online events typically provide CME credits.

    Interestingly, although physicians are reporting a growing preference for online events, Verispan's ePromotion Audit found that only 20% of online activities are of this type, while the majority of ePromotion consisted of virtual details (64%) in 2005.

    For the fifth year, Verispan's ePromotion Annual Study analyzes how ePromotion fits into the total promotional picture. Physicians reported on their behaviors and preferences regarding the Internet, ePromotion, face-to-face promotion, electronic prescribing and ordering samples online. For the purpose of the study, ePromotion is defined as video details, online events and virtual details. The study also asks physicians to rank the top pharmaceutical companies for ePromotion activities/programs and the top facilitating companies.

    The survey was deployed through Verispan's online market research platform. Approximately 1,000 physicians across 14 specialties participated by providing insight into their current and future ePromotion participation.

    For more information on Verispan's 2005 ePromotion Annual Study, please contact Tara Hamm or Denise Dotzman at 800-982-5613; e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

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