the solution is simple
E-patients are online and using the internet to help manage their health care. Patients with rare disorders are especially engaged and using the online channel to find “just in time patients like me”, as well as to connect with their healthcare providers and get emotional support and information relating to their therapy.
But each rare disorder patient community population is unique. What’s the best way to engage these patients? It depends on their patient journey, their level of participation in social media and the specific challenges of their disorder. When you look at data from the most recent PEW Internet project on specific segment e-patient behavior and the increasing range of communication channels, choosing among channels may seem like an overwhelming task. But the solution is simple – map to existing user behavior.
Patients are Online
There’s no doubt that patients are online. The Pew Internet Project estimates that 79% of American adults use the internet (up from 46% in 2000) and many of them not only gather and share health information online, but make health decisions based on what they find (see the Pew Internet/California HealthCare Foundation report: The Social Life of Health Information).
The PEW Internet Project Found that:
- 48% of African American adults have gone online using a mobile device, compared with 28% of white adults.
- 47% of Latino adults have gone online using a mobile device. (This survey was conducted only in English so the Latino sample skews up in terms of education and income)
- 41% of e-patients have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website, or blog.
- 15% of adults are “truly disconnected” – not only are they offline in an online world, but they are likely to say they don’t even know anyone who is online.
The Right Medium with the Right Message at the Right Time for the Right Audience
Given this data about general patient behavior online, you can see how specific the solution for each community must be. The right way to engage a community is first to listen and learn. The best solutions are simple, but they are also based on a deep understanding of the needs and preferences of the people you are trying to reach.
To stay connected with this conversation and receive alerts on new postings, please subscribe via RSS, or sign up for our monthly newsletter, Adventures in eMarketing, to receive a roundup of the top rated blog posts, associated reading lists and relevant insights.
(Image courtesy of Katie@! via Flickr)