On The Pulse: Trends & Surveys In the Healthcare Industry

DTC Ads Redefine Doctor-Patient Relationships Encouraging consumers to become advocates of their own healthcare, Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) ads are impacting the relationships among patients with physicians, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and healthcare payers, according to a newstudy by Scott-Levin, a Newton, Pa.-based healthcare consulting firm. The Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: 1996 study, based on responses from 5,000 physicians representing 14 specialties, 5,000 consumers, and phone interviews with HMO pharmacy directors, found that today's consumers are more proactive about their healthcare decision than ever before. According to the study: Patients who request advertised drugs influence the care of others who don't request a particular medicine, according to a third of the physicians surveyed.13 percent of doctors said they were "very likely" to prescribe a requested drug, with 19 percent likely to concur.More patients are recognizing DTC ads. Compared to 76 percent in 1995, ad recognition rose to 85 percent in 1996.However, physicians have been consistently resistant to the DTC trend. About half expressed negative attitudes toward the ads, similar to survey results in 1995, 1992, and 1989. (Scott-Levin, 901/726-7070) Few Domestic Violence Victims Turn to Medical Community Mental health marketers need to step up their efforts to reach at-risk domestic violence victims, according to a recent survey conducted by Memphis, Tenn.-based Methodist Hospital. Daniel Brookoff, M.D., Ph.D., of Methodist Hospital and colleagues, confidentially surveyed 72 domestic violence victims and 42 accused assailants at the scenes of domestic assaults in November 1995. The study found that: Police are often the only authorities contacted when domestic assaults occur, as only 22 percent of victims reported having ever sought medical care, counseling or shelter.68 percent of domestic assaults involved weapons.89 percent of victims reported previous assaults by current assailants. Bilingual Children Master Reading Faster Youth-oriented marketers should be mindful that bilingual children tend to read earlier than children who aren't fluent in a second language. Knowing a second language, according to the latest research on reading by psychologist Ellen Bialystok, Ph.D., of Toronto-based York University, can help a child comprehend written languages faster. The study evaluated 137 bilingual (French and English, and Chinese and English) and monolingual (English) 4- and 5-year olds. As early as 4 years old, bilingual children could associate written forms symbols with the meanings of pictures more readily than their 5-year old monolingual counterparts.

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