Why do today’s physicians prefer to find information online?

How do physicians use online resources and how can we use this knowledge to provide them with what they need to deliver the best possible care? This is what Elsevier sought to answer through global physicians resources surveys conducted in 2019 (pre-pandemic) and 2021 (at the height of the pandemic).

Amsterdam January 23, 2023

The findings of the two surveys, published as a whitepaper by Pharma & Life Sciences Solutions Team, revealed that physicians are increasingly going online to find information, connect with peers, and explore new means to deliver care to patients. This information could help key stakeholders in the medical community enhance the digital visibility of their brands and improve their adoption into physicians’ treatment paradigms.

Several zettabytes of new medical knowledge are being produced every day. Online resources and tools are helping physicians navigate these exploding volumes of available knowledge and providing them with vital information at their fingertips. According to Dr. Dominique Spaëth, a prominent medical oncologist from France who is a featured interviewee in the whitepaper, “In my practice, I treat all kinds of solid tumors. So, treating all kinds of solid tumors, the guidelines change every week or every two weeks. It’s part of my work to cope with that.”

The whitepaper touches upon not only why physicians are going online, but also how they filter the most pertinent content to their practice. According to the whitepaper, the top three factors influencing resource choice are credibility, up-to-date information or research, and ease of search or navigation. “I think credibility is something which goes without saying,” says Dr. Aparna Jaswal, a renowned cardiologist from India, who is also featured in the whitepaper, “As clinicians, as scientists, I don’t think we like to take on anything which is not a credible piece of information.” Moreover, 85% of physicians surveyed for the whitepaper revealed that they prefer using online journals for the latest medical information.

Physicians’ use of social media for professional purposes is also on the rise. Elsevier’s whitepaper revealed that 70% of physicians globally rely on social media to get the latest medical news pertaining to their medical specialty. “How I consume social media, in part, is to keep up with some research updates. I do think for disseminating and consuming up-to-date scientific information, some of the different news updates, things like that can be really helpful,” reveals Dr. Johnathan Silverberg, a preeminent dermatologist from the USA, who participated in Elsevier’s whitepaper.

Based on just this handful of insights from Elsevier’s whitepaper, it is abundantly clear that online resources are the latest frontier for physician engagement, with plenty of opportunity to influence practice.

According to Sharon Levi, Senior Marketing Manager at Elsevier Pharma & Life Sciences Solutions, “While speaking with various pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, it was very clear that all are looking for ways to drive online engagement with their target audience and realize the value and ‘stickiness’ of Elsevier’s credible and trusted resources.”

It is with this in mind that Elsevier Pharma & Life Sciences Solutions have launched their latest campaign—It's Your Turn To Be Seen. “As content consumption has continued to shift toward digital channels, we have been developing innovative solutions to ensure our sponsors can capitalize on the increased interest and use of our online platforms,” says Denis Conlon, VP Marketing. The new campaign offers a means to deliver on stakeholder needs, drive portfolio performance, and upgrade customer experience through digitalization.

Insights from the campaign, which includes the whitepaper, as well as other informational materials and tools, will further help pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers ensure that they align their offerings with the most pertinent needs of physicians.


Notes for editors

About the survey

Pharma & Life Sciences Solutions Team surveyed 1,937 physicians in 2019, among whom 70% were secondary care clinicians, consultants, or specialists. 61% of the physicians surveyed in 2019 came from Europe and Latin America, 21% were from the USA, and 18% were from Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries.

In 2021, they surveyed 1,778 physicians, 62% of whom were secondary care clinicians, 25% of whom were primary care clinicians/GPs, and 13% of whom were trainee doctors. 60% of these physicians were from Europe and Latin America, 24% were from the USA, and 16% were from APAC countries.

About Elsevier
As a global leader in information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making for customers across the global research and health ecosystems.

In everything we publish, we uphold the highest standards of quality and integrity. We bring that same rigor to our information analytics solutions for researchers, health professionals, institutions and funders.

Elsevier employs 8,700 people worldwide. We have supported the work of our research and health partners for more than 140 years. Growing from our roots in publishing, we offer knowledge and valuable analytics that help our users make breakthroughs and drive societal progress. Digital solutions such as ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath support strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and health education. Researchers and healthcare professionals rely on our over 2,700 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell; our over 43,000 eBook titles; and our iconic reference works, such as Gray's Anatomy. With the Elsevier Foundation and our external Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Board, we work in partnership with diverse stakeholders to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world.

Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.elsevier.com.

Kiran Dhaliwal