Based on a survey of over 2000 respondents from an online consumer panel, the report highlights that a substantial 72% respondents use the Internet to access healthcare related information. With spike in income levels and exposure to world-class standards of healthcare products and services along with shifting disease patterns from chronic to lifestyle related ones, new-age communication channels like the Internet have become a significant source of healthcare information, gradually gaining importance equivalent to conventionally trusted sources like doctors and healthcare professionals/experts.
“The study identifies an interesting trend in the rise of ‘preventive’ along with ‘curative’ measures of healthcare among Indians with 7 out of 10 respondents expressing trust in Internet as much as doctors for health related information, ahead of other conventionally trusted sources such as friends and family (48%). From searching for information about specific ailments or a medical condition, to tips for general well-being/remedies, the report indicates that online Healthcare consumers are actively breaking away from traditional norms and curating healthcare content on the web”, said Shweta Bhandari, Lead Analyst, Webchutney.
The report also indicates that 9 out of 10 respondents (90%) found healthcare information online useful to them. Such information seems to have a profound impact on consumers’ healthcare decisions, treatment choices and type of remedy preferences with ample content available and exchanged across a variety of web platforms, channels and networks related to remedies ranging from local, home-based solutions to ayurvedic, allopathic and other forms of treatments, coupled with listings of doctors, hospitals, diagnostic labs and insurance schemes.
The report suggests that rise in popularity of internet as a significant source of healthcare information emanates from its ability to offer in-depth healthcare information collated from multiple credible sources at click of a mouse from the comfort of one’s home. Powering research on healthcare, Search Engines (64%) emerge as the most used/preferred online platform facilitating access to healthcare related information followed by newsletters/online journals and company/brand websites. The report indicates that 74% respondents using search engines for the ‘health information hunt’ fall in age group of 25-45 years.
Commenting on the release, Sidharth Rao, CEO and Co-Founder, Webchutney said, “With 81% respondents from our survey looking for health related information online for themselves as well as others, and 6 out of 10 of them expressing keen interest in healthcare related location based services (LBS) on their mobile devices, digital media has become a vital ‘network’ for healthcare consumers online today. Health related recommendations from trusted sources online are the new social currency that marketers must leverage to create deeper engagement and meaningful relationships with consumers, while promoting positive word-of-mouth for their brands or services. With the web audience in India set to increase over a 100 million by the end of this year, it is time for healthcare marketers to keep pace with the revolution in changing consumer behaviour and evolve their marketing communication and branding strategies to stay relevant in the future.”