Ruder Finn Asia, in partnership with Ipsos, the world’s third largest, survey-based research group, conducts in-depth yearly survey and analysis of the online behavioral patterns of physicians and the evolution of social media usage across greater China and India. The survey assesses the outlook for medicine promotion and doctor-patient relationships in the digital age. The results are published in the annual Physicians Digital Outlook.


2014 Summary

Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India


E-Channels for Accessing Information

  • 71 percent of Chinese physicians prefer e-channels when accessing medical-related information.
  • Internet forums and mobile apps were the top channels for accessing medical information in China. Medical news was the most important to 88 percent, while 86 percent valued disease information.
  • 39 percent of physicians were concerned e-channels were not sufficiently academic, while 37 percent said online resources were not detailed enough in China.
  • MSD, Bayer and AstraZeneca were the top three companies voted by physicians in mainland China in terms of their use of e-channels, including company websites, forums, WeChat, Weibo and e-newsletters.
  • In India, physicians from tier 1 cities are becoming more Internet savvy, while tier 2 cities have a slightly lower online usage.



E-Diagnosis: Important, but Not Useful; Affecting Patient Interaction

  • Only 60 percent of mainland physicians showed a positive attitude toward online resources, compared to 91 percent in Hong Kong and 86 percent in Taiwan. Just 48 percent of mainland physicians used e-resources for diagnosis.
  • In India, 44 percent of physicians said the Internet has made their interaction with patients difficult. Patients are overloaded with medical information gathered online and imagine the worst about their ailments.
  • With relatively few diagnosis and treatment apps available, only 19 percent of mainland physicians use mobile apps in their daily work.
  • Face-to-face interaction is still the most prominent method of consultation; however, phone calls and SMS texts are emerging as the more preferred options of communication. In India, 78 percent connect over email.