Chinese physicians more digitally savvy than expected: Study

PHOTO: Chinese physicians more digitally savvy than expected: Study

BEIJING - Ninety-eight per cent of physicians in China use the Internet, and they spend 5.1 hours a week on activities related to their practice and on specialty-related activities, said a new study.

According to the Digital Life Physician China survey, Chinese physicians spend about 42 per cent of their online time - or 2.6 hours a week - on knowledge-based activities.

This includes searching for articles, books, and information on diseases, hospitals/departments, conferences and exhibitions.

Continuing medical education (CME) takes up 1.9 hours a week, and they spend approximately 1.4 hours a week connecting with their peers online, including writing blogs, articles and reviews.

Physicians spend only 0.6 hours a week interacting with their patients online, including answering patients' questions and participating in patient education and support programs.

The study was conducted by Kantar Health, a healthcare-focused global consultancy and marketing insights company, and DXY, the largest online academic portal for Chinese physicians and life sciences professionals.

The survey was aimed at uncovering physicians' attitudes, needs and motivations to provide insights to drive marketing success in the digital world.

"The Digital Life Physician survey showed that Chinese medical professionals are more digitally savvy than anyone expected - almost 100 per cent have web access," said Simon Li, General Manager of Kantar Health China.

"This indicates a huge potential for using digital channels to support marketing efforts," he said.

Mr Li added that the Internet is a significant source of information for physicians, but it's currently underused by manufacturers to engage and influence them.

Manufacturers have two huge opportunities for engaging Chinese physicians online: by providing new content and educational materials, and by influencing the online opinion leaders and monitoring the hubs to manage and control online marketing influences, he said.

The data was compiled via 4,857 online surveys and 2,070 offline surveys. The results were analyzed by Kantar Health.