Pharma: What is your ‘Healthprint’?

Pharma: What is your 'Healthprint'?The recent release of Edelman’s Health Barometer 2011, continues to demonstrate how consumers are redefining what health means to them and their expectations for greater support by key constituents in their lives, including business and government.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the 2011 Health Barometer global study as presented  Thursday.  Or you can also read Richard Edelman’s Post: Social comes to health or Jane Sarasohn-Kahn’s post:  Health is a team sport.

  • 80% define health beyond being disease free.
  • Lifestyle and nutrition are among the top factors that we most control and most impact our health.  When thinking about their lifestyle and nutrition, friends and family are key to shaping our health.
  • The knowledge-action gap in health continues…Consumers know what behaviors they should avoid, but don’t.  Further, while 62% report having tried to change a negative behavior, 50% were not able to sustain their change.  The top three reasons are: enjoyment of the negative behavior, addition or dependency and did not experience benefits soon enough.  Living in a society where immediacy is king and 24/7 the growing norm, I would venture that “not seeing benefits soon enough” is probably understated!
  • Consistent with Pew Internet Research and other studies, regular use of tools, devices and apps for managing or tracking health are still used by the minority at 20%.  And younger consumers, 18-30 years old, are most digitally engaged.
  • Helping others is the primary trigger of health advocacy, but experiencing a significant life event or reading or hearing information in the news are also significant triggers.
  • Interestingly, 31% of consumers reported spending less time with a friend because of their unhealthy behavior.  That translates to some powerful influence that each and every one of us can exert [I also sincerely hope that my two teenagers are adopting this behavior :-)]
  • Patients join experts (doctors, pharmacists, nurses, nutritionists) as credible sources while those ‘without any real skin in the game’ have very little.
  • Similar to studies by Prevention and WEGO Health, commercial interest doesn’t automatically detract from credibility.  Consumers largely appreciate the Pharma industry’s expertise and are happy to use good information when provided.
  • Health is an imperative for business.  In the US, 72% rated it important for business in general to improve or maintain the health of the public.   Globally and in the US, there is still opportunity for business and government to improve their ‘healthprint’.  And those companies that consumers think are effectively engaging in health, the research suggest that it will help to build trust, sales and recommendations.

In other words, as we continue to think about what health means to each of us personally and to our businesses, and to consider both our individual and company/brand’s ‘healthprint’, we are reminded…

Health and sustained behavior change is COMPLEX
Health is social
Health is a team sport
Health goes well beyond the absence of disease
Health is about the 4 P’s: Personal, People, Professional, and Public
…Health is more than selling pills.

…Health is both individual and at the same time influential and far reaching to others.