Insights into Online Behavior of Indian Doctors
Disruptive forces of digitization are affecting all stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. It is crucial for Indian pharma marketers to know the extent to which doctors have taken to digital media and how this has changed their information needs so as to modify their marketing and communications strategy accordingly.
Although several studies outlining the online behavior of medical practitioners have already been done, they have mostly focussed on western countries. Docplexus, being India’s largest community of doctors, assumed the responsibility of analyzing the same in the Indian context.
We administered a survey to 12,635 doctors which revealed the following key trends:
- The Future is Digital –
An astoundingly high number of doctors favor online media to cater to their learning needs with 72% claiming the internet to be their go-to place to know more about the latest drug molecules and related information. A significant number of doctors access online sources to understand the best industry practices and healthcare policy guidelines. Indian doctors are facing new challenges, with aggression and violence against them rising at an alarming rate in the recent past. Increased litigation is another growing concern. Doctors find it easier to source information relating to compliances, documentation, and certifications through online media. Online media are also an efficient mode of connecting and networking with industry peers.
- Rural Penetration on the Rise –
An interesting finding is the inroads that online media is making in rural India. Social media, in general, has penetrated across age groups, education levels, economic status, and other differentiators in the country. A study by the Boston Consulting Group revealed that 120 million rural Indians are connected to the internet at present. This number will rise to 315 million by 2020. Around 70% of the rural consumers use the Internet primarily for social networking. Reliance Jio’s disruptive tariffs indicate that in the telecom wars, the subscriber would ultimately emerge as the winner. Dropping prices of smartphones, penetration of 4G networks and rising consumer aspirations open up huge digital marketing opportunities in rural and semi-urban areas.
The internet revolution is proving to be a game changer for doctors based in remote parts of the country. These doctors previously faced great difficulties in accessing latest medical news and advanced treatment options owing to their location. This compromised their ability to deliver the best possible treatment and care. However, online media now make it possible for them to access all the latest information from their fingertips. They can register for online CMEs from KOLs and medical associations. Such online services offer easy and real-time access to a variety of resources and medical advancements, all at great convenience. This is especially important for doctors in smaller towns and rural parts of the country. Docplexus notes that more than half of its members are from rural areas.
- Visual Medium Highly Popular, Personalized Messages Favored –
Video content wins over text when it comes to gaining medical knowledge. The increasingly busy doctor is no longer interested in reading long articles in medical journals in order to keep abreast of the current happenings in life sciences. It is a proven fact that human brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Videos offer an emotional connect and are a highly efficient communication tool. This is why Indian doctors too are partial towards visual content like webinars, KOL interactions, surgical videos, etc.
Personalization is most likely to gain doctor attention and keep them hooked on to a service. Rather than scouting for relevant information from the complete repository, they prefer that the service understands their content needs and customizes its deliverables in an efficient way.
- The Time Factor –
75% of the doctors spend a maximum of 5 minutes online and only 10% dedicate 10 minutes or more of their time to online activities. This is a crucial insight for developers of online medical content and indicates that long, complicated and exhaustive articles are a thing of the past. Online content needs to be concise, clear and devoid of complexities. The peak surf times are when the doctors check in to their offices (10am), after the morning rush of patients is over (2pm) and in the evening (6pm). The preferred online time before signing off for the day is from 9pm to 10pm.
- Mobiles and Laptops most Preferred Devices, Tablets the Least Preferred – 78% of the medical professionals accessed online media through their mobiles and laptops. The convenience offered by these devices makes them the most favored by the doctor community. Desktops continue to occupy a share of 15% and therefore cannot be ignored. Despite the dismal share of tablets, Pharma companies continue to bring out tablet-based CRM and e-detailing solutions for their sales reps. These are misdirected efforts which clearly won’t deliver the desired marketing outcomes.
Key Takeaway for Pharma
This analysis indicates that there is no denying the rising power of online media amongst medical professionals, with practitioners using them for various needs ranging from knowledge upgrades to peer interactions. It is imperative that Pharma stops using digital marketing as a buzzword and places it at the center of its marketing strategy. Partnering with the right online platform will ensure successful delivery of its marketing message to its most important customers.
With over 2,25,000 doctors belonging to 93 specialties of modern medicine, Docplexus is India’s largest online community of doctors. Doctors trust our foolproof verification process and are assured of connecting with genuine Allopathic practitioners for the purpose of dialogue and interdisciplinary learning, all ultimately leading to better medical outcomes. Developed by a team of experts, our platform is compatible with the desktop as well as the mobile. Every day, over 12,000 doctors log on to Docplexus to avail our range of services.