PN health survey reveals big appetite for medical information by consumers

ATLANTA: Porter Novelli has unveiled its annual Healthstyles survey, releasing a segment of the findings at a healthcare industry symposium held in Atlanta last Tuesday.

ATLANTA: Porter Novelli has unveiled its annual Healthstyles survey, releasing a segment of the findings at a healthcare industry symposium held in Atlanta last Tuesday.

ATLANTA: Porter Novelli has unveiled its annual Healthstyles

survey, releasing a segment of the findings at a healthcare industry

symposium held in Atlanta last Tuesday.



The national poll of over 2,000 consumers attempted to gauge how

individuals seek and use information on health and wellness, and how

this information effects the doctor-physician relationship.



The results proved promising for healthcare PR agencies, as it uncovered

a voracious appetite for health-related information - even though many

of the respondents said that there is already more than they can

possibly ingest.



Key among the findings was information about the level of patient

involvement in individual health decisions. Advice from physicians plays

the most important role in patients’ decisions only 40% of the time,

with 20% of respondents being described as ’doctor-dependent active’ and

20% as ’doctor-dependent passive.’ The study characterized ’actives’ as

so-called ’nightmare patients’ who bring information on their latest

ailment to their doctor’s office and demand a full review.



The other groups broken down by the survey - independents, moderates and

the ’uninvolved’ - also expressed a keen desire for more health news,

though they agreed that there is already a glut in the marketplace.



Dr. Edward Maibach, head of PN’s social marketing practice, originated

the idea for the annual Healthstyles survey six years ago. In reporting

the 1999 findings, Mailbach noted a national shift ’from a Marcus Welby,

M.D. society to a Web M.D. society.’ He said, ’We’ve been able to

measure behaviors and perceptions of how and why people seek healthcare

information and evaluate the perceived impression of information

overload.’



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