Few Doctors Meet Patient Info Needs Online

January, 2013 – Following a January 15 research report by Pew Research Center revealing that 35 percent of Americans use the Internet to figure out a medical condition, an independent survey by Vanguard Communications found that only one-third of physicians in three American cities offer direct website help to health care consumers trying to understand their symptoms.

Here’s a breakdown of the findings:

  • 300 urology, orthopedic surgeons and obstetricians-gynecologists with “100-percent patient satisfaction” ratings (as ranked by users on HealthGrades.com) from Boston, Denver and Portland, Ore. were chosen as the physician sample
  • Seven out of ten: The rate of the studied physicians who were part of a website published by either a private practice or a hospital
  • 45 percent, 35 percent, 26 percent: OB/GYN doctors provided some patient-friendly online information 45 percent of the time, while orthopedic (35 percent) and urology (26 percent) specialists furnished less relevant information for consumers
  • 4 percent: The portion of physicians writing blogs on their websites to update patients on research and trends that could affect their health

By city

By specialty

Denver (100 surveyed)     Orthopedics (100 surveyed)
Have websites 62% Have websites 71%
Have symptom education 26% Have symptom education 33%
Have blogs  6% Have blogs  1%
Portland (100 surveyed)     Urology (100 surveyed)
Have websites 67% Have websites 59%
Have symptom education 30% Have symptom education 17%
Have blogs  5% Have blogs  2%
Boston (100 surveyed)     Obstetrics/Gynecology (100 surveyed)
Have websites 77% Have websites 76%
Have symptom education 43% Have symptom education 49%
Have blogs  2% Have blogs  9%
Grand Total Average (300 practices)     Grand Total Average (300 practices)
Have websites 69% Have websites 69%
Have symptom education 33% Have symptom education 33%
Have blogs  4% Have blogs  4%

About Vanguard Communications

Since 1994, Vanguard Communications has provided specialty healthcare marketing with a strategy focused on patient education guaranteed to bring new patients to specialist physicians, physician assistants, nurses and therapists in private, university and hospital practices. Through its MedMarketLink program, Vanguard combines the disciplines of online and offline PR, strategic marketing and information technology for healthcare providers coast to coast.

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