Jun 15, 2009

Catching Health consumer"s attention online

A large number of people are increasing turning to the internet for their information needs. But when it comes to online activity, everyone has a short attention span. Garnering potential audiences for medical content websites, and then retaining them is a big challenge. How do websites and other applications draw and hold consumers for long-form media like podcasts and video-downloads?

 As per Alexa ranking for two years, WebMD beats all other competition hands down, followed by everydayhealth.com. All others fare way behind these leaders in daily reach.

The important issues identified for such patient or consumer centric multimedia medical websites are,

--- Accuracy
---Individualization tools
--- Good medical imagery
short 2 minute animation /user experience videos.

Below are quotes by a few top online medical/patient education resources.

Nan Forte EVP, consumer services, WebMD - (The WebMD )content staff blends award-winning expertise in medicine, journalism, health communication and content creation to bring you the best health information possible. Our esteemed colleagues at MedicineNet.com are frequent contributors to WebMD and comprise our Medical Editorial Board. Our Independent Medical Review Board continuously reviews the site for accuracy and timeliness. # Health news for the public,Creating and maintaining up-to-date medical reference content databases,Medical imagery, graphics, and animation, Communities, Live web events, User experience, Interactive tools

More consumers visit WebMD than any other health site in search of health information. Our editorial and programming teams work closely with our product and technology groups to create the appropriate balance of compelling content together with an engaging user experience. The high level of user engagement on WebMD can be attributed to the high degree of personalization combined with the mix of sight, sound and motion across our network. For example, video is presented as part of the integrated user experience. In the past year alone, we've seen an increase in the way consumers are interacting with long-form media. We credit our programming expertise and the fact that many of our visitors are engaged information-seekers who will take time to engage in relevant programming.

Michelle Johnson Manager, pharmaceutical public affairs, Abbott -(The podcast series shares insights and tips from health professionals regarding diet and nutrition, the emotional impact of the disease and its effect on relationships. Each Crohn’s Cast also includes a first-hand account from a person living with Crohn’s disease.)

Abbott's decision to create its “Crohn's Casts: Speaking from the Gut” series was about addressing the needs of patients by combining the right online tools with relevant topics. Each of the podcasts is under five minutes and shares insights from health professionals regarding diet and nutrition, the emotional impact of the disease and its effect on relationships, and accounts from people living with or impacted by Crohn's disease. CrohnsOnline.com is a site dedicated to people with Crohn's disease, a gastrointestinal disease that often strikes between ages 15-35. Since 50% of people with chronic diseases go online to find healthcare information, a podcast was a simple, creative vehicle for this young and web-savvy group.

David Best, President, The Doctor's Channel- (site includes short one- to two-minute streaming video clips designed to get to the point, with insights and opinions from experts in 35 different specialties, as well as community and lifestyle features that help doctors stay on top of the latest news, ideas and information.)

Ihave found that the best way to draw and hold consumers is to sell them on the idea of shorter content that is packed with more information. The world is media snacking, getting their information in bite-sized bursts. Here at The Doctor's Channel, we have decided that our best chance to grab the attention of the medical community is not to fight the urge for media snacking, but rather to embrace it. We offer the same content you would find in an 8-minute video, but we provide it in four segments, each 2 minutes long. More often than not, people end up watching all four segments anyway. So consumers end up viewing 8 minutes of content, but because it is presented to them in smaller doses, they are more engaged. But remember, no matter what the “dose,” interesting content is paramount!

Marjorie Martin SVP & general manager, Everyday Health Network - (..help you manage your own and your family's conditions and overall well-being through personalized advice, tools, and communities)

Online health users have a reputation for being impatient; however, it may be because they're not finding what they need. Internet users are generally in search of answers to specific questions as opposed to casual browsing. When they find relevant content they stick with it. Audio and video perform best online when they're specific to a condition and use the visuals and audio to provide important information. For instance, someone in search of content on weight loss surgery is more likely to view animation of the procedure and an interview with a former patient (including visuals of the scar) than watch video of two doctors sitting in a studio talking about it.

Based on a December ,2008 article in MMM-Online.com

Related article
Medical Animation- How is it Used ? (medical-communication.blogspot.com)

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