if you’ve ever tried searching Google or Bing for rare disease symptoms, you know that this is not effective
Physicians are trained to arrive at a medical diagnosis by starting with the potential causes that are most common. The adage is “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses—not zebras.” This is logical and effective if a patient has a common condition, but the diagnosis of an orphan condition requires a different approach. The National Organization for Rare Disorders estimates that it takes an average of 9 years for a rare disease patient to get an accurate diagnosis.
This means that many patients, caregivers and physicians are online searching for answers, using search engines and forums. But, if you’ve ever tried searching Google or Bing for rare disease symptoms, you know that this is not effective. Enter Radu Dragusin from the Technical University of Denmark and a few colleagues who have launched a new search engine dedicated to the diagnosis of rare diseases called FindZebra.com.
Their study published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics shows FindZebra outperforms Google. The research explains that the algorithms of popular search engines (such as Google) favor websites that have a number of other websites linking back to them. These links validate that the information has been found useful to others. But by its very nature, information on rare disorders is typically scarce and has fewer backlinks. Read More
the site owner has control over how their internal site search provides results and those results, like any other messaging, need to be compliant
We recently reviewed this FDA warning letter sent on January 29, 2013 to Medical Doctors Research (MDR), a nutritional supplement manufacturer.
The letter cited a variety of issues, but the one that caught our attention was the reference to the search within the website. MDR included a site search functionality where someone could enter a keyword and it provides results from the pages within that website. The FDA letter notes: “In addition, typing the key word ‘cancer’ or ‘diabetes’ into your product search field located on your website brings up your product lists to include Fitness tabs for Men, Longevit – E and others, implying your products are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of such diseases. Your products are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced uses, and therefore, the products are ‘new drugs’ under Section 201(p) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(p)].” Read More
it seems that Graph Search is more of a concern for individual Facebook users and what they include on their profiles
There has been a lot of buzz regarding the upcoming Facebook Graph Search launch and its effect on healthcare marketing. Some of the blog posts have been fairly negative and a little alarmist. I believe that the new Graph Search won’t be a big issue for pharma marketing and will potentially allow pharma companies to distribute their resources and information further than ever before, though this opportunity will require marketers to take additional precautions.
What is Facebook Graph Search?
In an effort to try to combat Google’s strong hold on the search market, Facebook has developed a new way to utilize their search functionality within the social media platform itself. Graph Search is currently in Beta; you can sign up for the waiting list on facebook.com/graphsearch. Facebook says they have a great deal of work ahead of them to incorporate all the items into the Facebook sphere.
After searching, 67% of physicians then shared information with patients and 55% made or changed a treatment decision
The other day I attended the annual Google ThinkHealth event to review some of the latest digital trends. Among the interesting speakers was Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Policy Advisor on Healthy Food Initiatives, who is working with the First Lady on her program, Let’s Move.
Sree Chaguturu, MD, from Partners HealthCare (which includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital), talked about their research on physicians and technology. They found that with doctors it wasn’t so much age driving technology adoption, but what they termed “geek factor.” Their physicians believe that technology can drive health innovation and that doctors will adopt tech tools if other doctors in their practice care about it. Dr. Chaguturu said, “Physicians are even willing to lose income in order to adopt technology–up to a certain amount.”
To keep up with what’s new and innovative in technology, as well as the biopharmaceutical industry, we have a learning culture at Siren Interactive. We are constantly sharing articles and ideas, and brainstorming on how we can apply these to our clients’ business. That’s the mindset that led to the creation of InnovationPharm, a series of events featuring industry experts on leading-edge trends.
On May 9, 2012, we invited a few of our clients and our partner, Google, to take part in an InnovationPharm focusing on search and YouTube. Get a sense of the event from video snippets below. The interactive and casual event was held at Cooper’s Hawk Winery—hence the wine barrels in the background!
I talk about keeping up with new technology and highlight Pinterest.
David Blair, head of industry at Google, discusses the power of Google+ and the future potential for biopharma.
32% of physicians click on paid search first when looking for clinical and treatment information
The Manhattan Research-Google Physician Channel Adoption Study 2012 reinforces what we already know–that physicians use general search engines for clinical information. They learned that 84% of physicians use search engines daily for information for their practice, while 94% of physicians say that Google is their search engine of choice. Through our experience at Siren, we know that physicians rely heavily on search and biopharmaceutical websites for information about rare disease diagnosis and treatment with orphan drugs.
According to this study, physicians used a general search engine to look for clinical and treatment information in the following situations:
60% when a patient requests more info during a consult
58% after a patient reported a drug side effect
57% after a patient requested a specific drug
51% when a new drug is approved
If patients are empowered to ask for a drug, the physician will then often go online, so brands should be ready.
The placement of the related disease searches on the page is prominent
In February Google announced a new enhancement to their search results for health symptoms. We have known for a long time that Dr. Google is one of the first places people go to investigate whether a symptom is worth a trip to the doctor to investigate or not. This change in how the results are displayed tries to use the data from the National Institutes of Health, Wikipedia, and others, to determine the most common diagnoses that are associated with their symptom.
“Our data shows that a search for symptoms is often followed by a search for a related condition. To make the process easier, now when you search for a symptom or set of symptoms, you’ll often see a list of possibly related health conditions that you can use to refine your search,” writes Roni Zeiger, MD, Google’s Chief Health Strategist, on their blog.
Recently there has also been an integration of Google+ content into search engine results pages
Google has been an important part of the health research process for patients and healthcare providers for many years. This year Google is shaking things up with a list of new products and innovations that will affect both the paid and organic search strategies of pharmaceutical companies.
Google started allowing businesses to create Google+ pages/profiles and visitors to opt into specific “circles” in order to receive specific posts and updates. An example might be using circles to customize messages for patients, healthcare providers and caregivers. The Google+ platform could integrate well with a segmented marketing strategy, and Google+ now has a network of 100 million users worldwide.
However, one reason for pharma to wait to create Google+ pages is because the commenting capability cannot be suppressed or controlled the way it can be on YouTube. Note that just like Facebook (850 million users), a Google+ page requires resources to add content, monitor comments and interact with users. Roche is the only biopharmaceutical company we have seen who has taken advantage of Google+ with placeholder company and career pages.
double the number of MDs used Google (87%) for professional research online as the next most-used search options
Two studies were recently released regarding the online search habits of physicians. The first, Kantar Media’s Sources & Interactions, found that double the number of MDs used Google (87%) for professional research online as the next most-used search options (WebMD and PubMed, each at 43%). Google was one of six consumer search engines pulling significant usage; each was used by an average of 23% of physicians. That’s the same percentage that used each of the six medical sites on average, the study revealed. See the details on the chart at the bottom of the post.
Kantar discovered wide variations in reported usage based on specialty, age, and other demographic factors. Google and Yahoo! were consistent performers across most groups, generally varying only within a two or three point range of average, while other sites showed wide variance. For example, PubMed was used by only 29% of family medicine doctors but 77% of infectious disease specialists. Older users preferred PubMed and Google Scholar, while younger users more frequently used general search engines Yahoo! and Bing, as well as WebMD and MDLinx. Interestingly, the study found that almost three times as many physicians who don’t see sales reps use UpToDate, compared with those who meet with reps.
We have yet to see how much data will be lost; Google suggests it should be a minority
This week Google announced that it is making a change to how Google Analytics (GA) reports keyword level data. Google announced this as a change intended to protect the privacy of the user data of people who are logged into their tools while searching.
Basically, Google explains the change as separating the keyword level data from searches into two groups: one for those who are not signed into Google’s universal login for all its products and one for those who are logged in. Google will remove/suppress/protect the keyword level data from the search results pages for those people who are logged in, and those keywords will be listed within the organic search reporting of GA as “not set” or “not provided.” Everything else from searchers who are not logged in will still be reported, as will all data from paid search campaigns.