72% users access healthcare information on Internet

MUMBAI: Digital marketing agency, Webchutney has unveiled a new report -‘catching the e-healthcare bug‘.

The report analyses the growing influence of digital media such as the web and mobile in the Indian healthcare segment. It maps the Indian healthcare seeker‘s usage, attitude and perception towards internet.

Based on a survey of over 2000 respondents from an online consumer panel, the report highlights that 72 per cent respondents use the Internet to access healthcare related information. 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. 
Webchutney lead analyst Shweta Bhandari said "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 per cent). 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".

The report indicates that 9 out of 10 respondents (90 per cent) found healthcare information online useful to them. It also indicates that 74 per cent respondents using search engines for the ‘health information hunt‘ fall in age group of 25-45 years.

Webchutney CEO and co-founder Sidharth Rao said "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 behavior and evolve their marketing communication and branding strategies to stay relevant in the future."

The research report also shows that 8 out of 10 healthcare information seekers online research health content not just for themselves but for others too. 66 per cent search for health related information on social networking and info exchange sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. 6 out of 10 admit to being influenced by healthcare commentary found online. They find tremendous value in reading comments, views and opinions posted by others on health across relevant social forums, communities, blogs, and groups. 5 in 10 have recommended healthcare products/services in their online networks thus becoming the new social currency by increasing visibility and generating positive word-of-mouth for such brands. 7 in 10 are interested in using location based services on their mobile phones to locate healthcare products, services in their vicinity. This includes hospitals, dispensaries, medical stores, healthcare centers, health insurance, providers, health care equipment providers etc.

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