Let’s face it. Pharmaceutical sales reps are old-school as far as healthcare prescribers are concerned.

A newly released (2016) Annual Healthcare Professional Communication Report (see insert below) by HealthLink Dimensions surveyed over 700 physicians and PAs (HCPs) found that only 11% of respondents preferred to be contacted by pharma through in-person visits from company reps. That’s the same percentage who prefer snail (direct) mail.

Meanwhile, 68% prefer to be contacted through email, which confirms what other surveys have found (e.g., Medical Marketing Service’s 2016 Physician Pharmaceutical Survey; read “Physicians Want #Pharma Info, But Mostly Via Email That Can Be Ignored Better Than Reps!“).

Click on “Read More” below for more results from the HealthLink survey and how they compare with other research about physician communication preferences.

According to HealthLink Dimensions 58% of HCPs see the value of social media but only about 3 percent interact with medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers through social media. “Healthcare marketers should begin considering the best possible ways to engage with these individuals [the 58%] on social channels in the future,” recommends the report authors.

The mms survey cited above asked physicians how often they visited healthcare provider social networks and found that only 8% did so on a daily basis (see chart on right).

So, although a majority of physicians may see the value of social media, only a small fraction are currently using social media on a regular basis.

The following chart compares some results from these two surveys. Keep in mind that we are not comparing apples to oranges.

Click on image for enlarged view. Survey 1 = HealthLink, Survey 2 = mms

The info of highest interest (49%) to Survey 2 HCPs is information on new products, followed by interest in information on existing products (23%, not shown in chart). Survey 2 HCPs are not so interested in CME (“Webinar”) as are Survey 1 HCPs.

“Patient App” in Survey 2 is just one possible option under the heading “patient educational materials” in Survey1. Although “Patients with Chronic Diseases Want Mobile Apps to Communicate with Their Docs,” not many physicians are interested in supplying such apps from pharma to their patients, according to survey 2 (also read: “Kevin Pho, MD, is not ready to prescribe mobile health apps. Why not?“).