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Traditional media sources such as print medical journals remain key ways for physicians to stay abreast of new and rapidly changing clinical information, according to an annual new report by CMI/Compas.

In October, CMI/Compas, the media planning and buying company, surveyed 2,780 healthcare professionals in the U.S. across 27 specialties, and released a report that focuses on the findings of six: primary care, cardiology, oncology, neurology, dermatology, and pulmonology. The firm included oncologists in the report for the first time this year to address the rising development of products in the category, said Dr. Susan Dorfman, chief commercial officer at CMI/Compas.

What the company found is that pharmaceutical and medical device companies, when seeking to reach physicians, should choose different media channels based on their needs.

“We should never put our eggs in any one channel basket,” said Dorfman. “Doctors are in a multitude of places. For clients who have a limited budget, we have to focus our investments and decide where we can make the most impact on those non-personal dollars as opposed to spreading those dollars too thin.”

Medical journals remain top sources for information but HCPs go online for immediate answers.

Traditional media sources such as print and online medical journals, medical conventions and meetings, and professional websites remain the top sources of information for physicians looking to stay abreast of medical developments and treatment options. The survey found that oncologists rank print and online medical journals equally important, with 70% of them using both.  And while other specialties did not rank pharma reps among their top sources of medical information, 53% of PCPs said they turn to pharma reps to stay abreast of medical developments and treatment options.

“I think PCPs are in many ways equipped to know everything that is happening,” said Dorfman. “You are their first point of contact. It's nearly impossible for them to read everything so having reps to share information ... may be a higher ranking source than other specialties.”

However, those traditional media sources are ranked more highly when physicians have more time. When they have only ten minutes or less to answer a question, physicians across all specialties relied on the internet to find an immediate answer. The survey also found that 70% of HCPs across all specialties search online daily, with 46% of oncologists using online search engines for professional purposes at least four times per day.

“It used to be peers, but now they're searching the web,” said Dorfman. “Now we see that for certain specialties like oncology, peers don't even exist. There's no specific sources they go to though.”

With the internet as the main source of information for physicians when they are searching for an immediate answer, Dorfman said pharma companies should boost their search engine optimization to provide the information and content physicians need.

CMI/Compas found that physicians across all specialties visit brand-specific pharmaceutical or medical device websites to search for dosing information, safety information, and clinical data. However, the information is not easy to find.

“We have to ask when we build our website, who are we building it for?” said Dorfman. “Rather than driving them to the website and forcing them to search, we need to deliver them that information because they have less than ten minutes.”

Drugmakers that are doing this well are bringing the user to the content by incorporating features like keywords, she said.

“We're just starting to work with agencies in sharing a lot of this information, but I haven't seen a brand.com that is constructed in a way that is meaningful to the user yet,” said Dorfman. “I think there are non-brand.com sites that are more geared towards that.”

Clinical efficacy more important than drug cost.

Despite growing criticism about how drugs are priced, the number one factor that influences physicians' treatment decisions across all specialties, except neurologists, is clinical efficacy data, the survey found. Neurologists ranked a drug's safety and tolerability profile as the number one issue, followed by strong clinical efficacy data. Of the six specialties, only PCPs – 47% of them – factor in a drug's cost to a patient when making a prescribing decision.

“It may have to do with the severity of the condition and the conditions that they treat,” explained Dorfman. “What those specialists are looking at is what is going to work for their patients versus looking at the possible cost. It doesn't mean it's not important. It just means that, in the ranking, it wasn't up at the top.”

Oncologists, cardiologists, and neurologists are most likely to try new treatments.

The survey found that oncologists, cardiologists, and neurologists are most likely to prescribe new treatments for patients as soon as those therapies receive FDA approval, with oncologists being the most likely – 58% said they would try out new treatments.

“There is such a high unmet need to extend a patient's life, it's not surprising that they are most likely to try new treatments,” said Dorfman. “It's become much more important for us to be responsible for creating the awareness with these audiences. If we know there is a high propensity, it's on us to deliver relevant information to them.”

Sales reps' access to doctors has stabilized or opened up but with restrictions.

The survey found that PCPs, cardiologists, and dermatologists were most accessible to pharma and device reps without restrictions, and oncologists and pulmonologists were the least accessible.

Looking at rep access over a four-year period, Wayne Obetz, CMI/Compas' VP of investments and analytics and decision sciences, observed a dip in accessibility, a trend also reported by ZS Associates in its annual survey, which found that only 44% of physicians will meet with sales reps.

“The offices that just flat out won't see a rep have bottomed up,” said Obetz. “The offices that are opening back up look like they are opening back up by appointment only, or within opening hours.”

“Even when the rep has access, the overall time is limited,” added Stan Woodland, CEO  of CMI/Compas. “So non-personal promotion becomes increasingly important in the success of a brand.”

Author: Virginia Lau

Source: http://www.mmm-online.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

Race, education, socioeconomic factors all linked to lower online participation

Recruiting minorities and poor people to participate in medical research always has been challenging, and that may not change as researchers turn to the internet to find study participants and engage with them online, new research suggests. A study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis concludes that unless explicit efforts are made to increase engagement among under-represented groups, current health-care disparities may persist.

In a study of 967 people taking part in genetic research, the investigators found that getting those individuals to go online to get follow-up information was difficult, particularly if study subjects didn’t have high school educations, had incomes below the poverty line or were African-American.

The new findings are available online July 28 in the journal Genetics in Medicine.

“We don’t know what the barriers are,” said first author Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD. “We don’t know whether some people don’t have easy access to the internet or whether there are other factors, but this is not good news as more and more research studies move online because many of the same groups that have been under-represented in past medical research would still be missed going forward.”

Hartz and her colleagues offered participants detailed information about their ancestry as part of genetic research to understand DNA variations linked to smoking behavior and nicotine addiction. Some 64 percent of the people in the study answered a survey question stating that they were either “very interested” or “extremely interested” in that information, but despite repeated attempts to get the subjects to view those results online, only 16 percent actually did.

The numbers fell to 10 percent or lower among people with low incomes and no high school diplomas, as well as among study subjects who were African-American. Such groups traditionally have been under-represented in medical research studies.

“This is particularly relevant now because of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative,” said Hartz, an assistant professor of psychiatry.

The project seeks to recruit 1 million people and analyze their DNA to understand risk factors related to a variety of diseases. Ultimately, the project seeks to develop personalized therapies tailored to individual patients.

“Our results suggest that getting people to participate in such online registries is going to be a challenge, particularly if they live below the poverty line, don’t have high school diplomas or are African-American,” Hartz said.

Because 84 percent of American adults now use the internet and 68 percent own smartphones, some researchers have believed that traditional barriers to study recruitment — such as income, education and race — would be less important in the internet age.

In the Precision Medicine Initiative, researchers plan to collect information about diet, exercise, drinking and other behaviors, as well as about environmental risk factors, such as pollution. The study will allow participants to sign up by computer or smartphone, and recruitment aims to match the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the United States. The idea is to make it as easy as possible to enroll, but Hartz’s findings suggest signing up on the internet won’t eliminate every barrier.

Hartz

As part of the Washington University study, the smokers who participated were given the opportunity to have their DNA analyzed by 23andMe, a personalized genetics company. The participants were able to receive reports detailing where their ancestors came from, based on 32 reference populations from around the world. That information was available through a secure, password-protected online account set up and registered by the individual through the 23andMe website.

Each subject received an e-mail from the researchers with instructions on how to log on to the 23andMe website and retrieve the information. After a few weeks, the researchers sent another e-mail to those who did not log on. Then, the researchers made phone calls, and, if the subjects still didn’t log onto the site, they were sent a letter in the mail.

Even after all of those attempts, only 45 percent of the European-American participants who had high school educations and lived above the poverty line ever looked at the information. Among African-American participants who graduated from high school and lived above the poverty line, only 18 percent logged onto the site.

“Our assumption that the internet and smartphone access have equalized participation in medical research studies doesn’t appear to be true,” Hartz said. “Now is the time to figure out what to do about it and how to fix it, before we get too far along in the Precision Medicine Initiative, only to learn that we’re leaving some under-represented groups of people behind.”

https://source.wustl.edu/2016/07/use-internet-medical-research-may-hinder-recruitment-minorities-poor/

Categorized in Online Research

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