T 52: Evaluating the Level of Medical Information Provided for Health Care Professionals on Consumer Care Websites
Alisha M Couto
Post Doc Fellow, Bayer HealthCare
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey United States
The objective of this study is to rate the level of medical information publically available to healthcare professionals on consumer care websites in order to better assess the type of information provided and gauge consistency within the industry.
A medical information review was conducted to assess information provided for healthcare professionals on consumer websites for RX-to-OTC switch products. An information rating system was created to direct the evaluation process. A descriptive and numerical analysis of the data will be reported.
The medical information rating system was created to rate consumer websites for availability of a health care professional (HCP) section, availability of product efficacy data, availability of dosing charts, availability of patient teaching tools, and availability of the drug facts label. Topline results showed that of the 27 products rated, only 22% scored above a 2 on the 5 point medication information rating system. Additionally, only 16% of the product consumer sites had a dedicated HCP section. Two therapeutic areas were consistent among products and had the most medical information: cough /cold and analgesics. Both these areas had 74% of products scoring above a 3 on the 5 point medication information rating system.
This study showed that there is an extreme paucity of medical information available for healthcare professionals (HCP’s) within the consumer care space and there is generally no industry standard for consistency. A majority of the information found on these websites served more of a marketing purpose than a medical one. It is understandable that the information would be geared more towards a consumer than a HCP, however it was hypothesized that since the products reviewed were once prescription, there would be more medical information available for HCP’s. This was not observed since less than 20% of the websites even had a dedicated HCP section. It would be beneficial to add product efficacy data, patient education tools as well as the drug facts label to consumer websites in order for HCP's to make the most educated decision before recommending over the counter products to consumers.