The study, which surveyed 512 women in the US, looks at why women use the Web to search for health information. It was released November 17 at the Marketing Pharma & Healthcare to Women Conference in Chicago.
The top reason that women choose to go online for health information is availability. Nearly 70% of the women surveyed say that they can find information about a health condition or issue quickly when searching online, while 64% say that the Internet allows them to get information at any time of day.
Nearly one-third of women, or 36%, said searching for health information online "at times" may keep family members healthier than visiting a doctor.
Twenty-nine percent of women surveyed say that seeking health information online is cheaper than visiting a doctor while 28% of women said they were not able to fill a personal prescription because of the economy.
“Health and cost is strongly linked,” said Monique da Silva, head of Ogilvy's North America healthcare practice, citing the economy and the national focus on healthcare reform in the US during the last year as two examples of what has driven the link between healthcare and cost.
The study also found that half of women surveyed find it “stressful” to keep up with several information channels, whether a Facebook page or e-mail.
The finding, said da Silva, underscores “the responsibility that we as communicators have to make sure that information is accurate and clearly articulated.” She added that healthcare companies need to be cognizant of people's time and how to effectively communicate with consumers and patients.
“If they tune out, it no longer works,” said da Silva.