Optimizing for Mobile – Do It!

Recently a research report by Manhattan Research found that only about a third of pharma web sites have been optimized for mobile use.

While I still know people who do not have a smart phone, there aren’t many of them.   In general, apps offer an important incentive for people to make the move.  This is true for patients who can use apps to track and even monitor their health.  And for many patients, mobile is the preferred and most accessible means to use the Internet.  The Pew Internet & American Life Project 2012 Mobile Health Report found that 1 in 3 consumers use their phone to access health information, nearly double the number from 2 years prior.

For physicians – smart phones can now be used to examine test results and perform a number of important functions.  One survey of physicians found that 8 in 10 doctors are now using smartphones at the office (Wolters Kluwar survey, 2013) and that was primarily for reviewing drug information.  In short, for two primary stakeholders in medicine, mobile access is of increasing importance.

That means that Web sites used by those two important stakeholders need to be optimized for mobile.  Have you ever tried to access a web site on your phone only to find that it is in such small print, that you can only read it by pinching the screen to expand it, but then you can only read a few words at a time.  You can’t navigate it.

FDA’s site is optimized for mobile.  NIH?  Not so much.  CMS?  Yes.  HHS?  Nope.

And that pretty much sums it up.  It is the same pattern for the private sector and for professional organizations.  I’m not going to name names here – you should know who you are, but I took a look at several sites that doctors and patients might want to access on their phones and what did I find?

First, while the research mentioned above looked at scores of pharma sites, I looked at the top 10 pharmaceutical companies (US sites).  What I found there was that five sites were optimized for mobile – navigable and legible, and five were not.

Then I picked 10 medical societies covering a range of diseases from oncology to diabetes to cardiovascular and more.  What I found there was of these 10 societies, only 4 had their sites optimized for mobile.

That is really surprising given that medical meetings are of such importance – attended not only by docs seeking information, but by media who are going to write about it.  One can see all of the tweets coming out of a medical meeting by attendees – well they aren’t sending those tweets out on their laptops.  They are sending them primarily from smart phones.

It seems about half of the stakeholders have figured this out.  Half appear not to have gotten around to it.  Which half are you in?

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