ABM Conference: Doctors, Consumers Seek Immediate Access to Medical News
Publishers of medical magazines and journals should start developing ways to deliver news to both doctors and consumers in more immediate formats by developing better online and mobile formats, said publishers and medical industry analysts at an American Business Media-sponsored event held Wednesday at Scholastic headquarters in Manhattan.
“The average doctor has between 11 and 17 minutes to see a patient,” said Bette Brunelle, vice president and lead analyst for media research firm, Outsell. “So the doctor needs to have information right with him and a lot of publishers have responded to this new environment. The journal article is not the best way to get content to doctors.”
Healthcare advertiser increased their online spending by 23.9 percent between 2005 and 2006, compared to an 8.1 percent increase in print spending during the same period. That said, publishers with publications that target the medical industry, such as Advanstar, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill, WebMD and Thomson, are moving forward to repurpose their content onto mobile and handheld devices using XML and SGML platforms, but need to do more, Brunelle said. She also said that other medical publishers should follow suit.
“This is a big change for publishers,” she said. “They need to change the way they sell their market. Publishers used to go to the hospital librarian or the chief surgeon to try and market they’re products. Now they’re going to the chief information officer and the chief technology officer.”
Targeting consumers electronically is of equal importance with more and more of them heading to the Web to find their own diagnoses.
Andy Weissberg, general manager of product development and interactive media for Advanstar, says his company sees tremendous opportunity in targeting the medical community online. He said Advanstar has begun offering more targeted information to doctors online with plans to launch a portal next year that will allow doctors to choose the content they wish to receive from Advanstar.
“We don’t just e-mail blast our readers anymore,” he said. “The average doctor gets 10-12 e-mail newsletters a day and doesn’t want them. So we’re asking them to tell us what they want.” Advanstar also offers physicians blogging and other interactive activities on a Web 2.0 platform and organizes its Web data according to specialty areas, as well as links to external sites to make it easier for doctors to perform searches on their sites.