Since 2012, Kantar Health has been collaborating with China’s major digital health professional platform DXY to launch the country’s largest annual physician surveys. We’ve seen significant changes of physicians’ digital behaviours. We’ve seen they are spending more time online, as well as increasingly relying on Internet and digital technologies to work and improve themselves. As patients are also empowered by digital technologies, this year’s report for the first time includes patients in our report. (Read "Meet the digitally savvy Chinese patients")
This year’s survey has collected answers from 10,325 doctors, among which 3,242 from PCs while 7,083 from mobile devices. They came from 32 specialities, all city/town tiers, hospital levels and seniority levels. More than 1,400 patients responded to this survey, with patients of oncology, psychology, cardiovascular and respiratory departments, etc.
Doctors satisfied with their digital time
Chinese doctors are quite immersed in digital word, with average doctor spending 29.2 hours online per week, among which 15.5 hours, or more than 50% of their total online time, are medical related activities. Nearly half of them (48%) said they are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their digital experiences.
Our analysis showed that chief doctors in big hospitals and in big cities spend more time online than other counterparts. Chief doctor spend 1.9 more hours than average each week, while those from Level III hospitals and hospitals higher than county level are also spending more time online than average.
Same as every ordinary Chinese, doctors said that WeChat is their most frequently used mobile app. On average, they follow eight medical-related WeChat public accounts, and 48% of them are satisfied with what they read on WeChat. On the contrary, the average number of medicine apps downloaded is decreasing. It might mean that doctors have noticed that what WeChat could offer is good enough and they don’t really need so many apps.
Digital channels gaining impact
Our survey also asked doctors about their feeling about digital marketing channels’ impact on their work efficiency and prescription decision/use the right drug. The answers showed that webcasting and webinar are the two most influential new digital marketing channels.
Not just e-learning
Our survey has found that doctors going online mostly for seven professional purposes:
4. Peer exchange;
5. Continuing Medical Education;
7. Earning income.
Among them, “earning income” for the first time became a major reason for doctors to go online. “Earning income” refers to the practice of health professionals opening accounts at professional healthcare websites, such as DXY.com and Chunyuyisheng.com, to answer patients’ questions to earn consultancy fee.
There are still unmet needs for health professionals on digital platforms, among which guideline/literature search ranks the highest. It seems there is still a growth opportunity for healthcare service providers to offer personalized and valuable contents to doctors.
It is also worth noticing that the proportion of doctors feeling that digital platforms could do better to help them engage patients almost doubled from 27% in 2016 to 51% in 2017. This is also the second highest unmet need.
When asked about why they practice online, 68% said they did so to build personal brand, increase exposure and improve career development, while 61% said they were in it to increase income legitimately.
Apparently, Chinese healthcare professionals are increasingly rely on digital technologies for their work. They also resort to digital channels to build their personal brands and widen income source. In the future, we could expect more doctors to join them to engage patients and offer more services online.
Source: Kantar Health