Creating content to engage health professionals

Content for healthcare professionals is a powerful medium. According to research by the social network SERMO, 75% of physicians say they need to engage with 3-6 pieces of educational content about a treatment before feeling confident in prescribing it (see Part 10).

In contrast, research shows that US oncologists are giving less access to pharmaceutical sales reps than ever before. In a European survey, 25% of doctors said they are reducing face-to-face interactions, with a further 10% of doctors never seeing reps.

Reps are no longer considered the most significant channel for establishing relationships. Digital is becoming more important than ever.

But getting the attention of healthcare professionals online becomes ever more challenging as volumes of content and advertising continue to grow. Research shows that, on average, an oncologist is exposed to 512 digital ads each month through their personal devices.

Catching the attention of time-strapped healthcare professionals is that much harder in a saturated marketplace, but not impossible if you’re armed with the right tools.


Understanding your audience is everything

To help you create high-performing content for healthcare professionals (HCPs), Springer Nature commissioned independent surveys from Hanover Research on North American oncologists’ and cardiologists’ content consumption habits. The insights from the surveys provide practical tips for making your HCP content more engaging.


Why healthcare professionals aren’t reading your content

Overwhelmingly, Springer Nature’s research confirmed that healthcare professionals’ main challenge to content consumption is lack of time.

The majority of oncologists (66%) and cardiologists (73%) surveyed cite lack of time as a reason for not reading more specialty-related content. Over half said they find it difficult to remain up to date. With less than an hour a day to catch up on content, cardiologists and oncologists also said reasons for not consuming more content include: “too long”, “not engaging”, “too broad”, or “not in my preferred format”.

Physicians told Springer Nature that they prefer content that is digital, focused, and concise, with succinct summaries or key findings at the beginning. And it must be consumable in under six minutes.


What do healthcare professionals want to hear about?

Both oncologists and cardiologists cite treatment advances as the most vital type of content to keep up-to-date with, followed by clinical trial information and research.

Cardiologists want content that is more clinically useful for daily practice, and more specific updates relative to their subspecialty.


How do they want to hear about it?

  • Digital first:
    Both oncologists and cardiologists regularly turn first to medical websites when looking for specialty-related content, mainly because these are seen as reputable sources. Content here also tends to be insightful and relatively quick to consume. This underlines SERMO’s research (see Part 10) which found that the preferred source for medical information globally (apart from Japan) is online scientific publications.

    • After medical websites, cardiologists rely mainly on conferences and workshops for content because the content is engaging.
  • Mobile first:
    Over half of those surveyed use mobile devices to access information – 59% of oncologists in 2019, increasing to 73% of cardiologists in 2022. So make sure your content is mobile-friendly.
  • Spark conversation:
    For nearly a quarter of the cardiologists, word of mouth is one of the most important ways of keeping up-to-date with new content – so make sure yours is the topic of conversation. Sharing your content on social media can help spark discussion.
  • Under six minutes:
    Over 70% of all respondents feel that content should ideally be no longer than six minutes long. More concise content that is specialty-specific and easily searchable and downloadable reduces consumption time. Succinct summaries and bulleted findings or abstracts also help users to absorb information quickly.


When do they want to hear it?

Healthcare professionals are consuming content throughout the day but there are certain times you may want to aim for when delivering your content:

  • Oncologists are most likely to consume content during working hours between patient appointments, or after leaving work between 4pm and 8pm.
  • Cardiologists most often consume content from medical websites during the working week and in the afternoons and evenings between 12pm and 8pm. Monday and Saturday are key days for them as they consume less content during the middle of the week.
  • The morning (8am-12pm) is popular for podcasts and word-of-mouth from content.


Make your content engaging

The oncologist and cardiologist surveys contain invaluable insights on delivering content your audience will actually want to read – request the oncologist and cardiologist surveys today.

You can also let Springer Nature do the work for you! Our Clinical Custom Content service creates content designed uniquely for healthcare professionals. Hosted on and promoted to the Springer Nature audience, your messages are integrated by our expert team into articles that engage your target audience.

How does our Clinical Custom Content service help you?

  • Placing your content on puts you right in front of your chosen audience. Each month, over 16 million unique users visit the site and you’re able to target your sub-specialty directly.

  • Using our channels gives your content immediate authority; we’ve built up trust with our audiences over 175 years.

  • Our team of expert writers and editors write with your target healthcare audience in mind, understanding their information needs and behaviors.

  • Crucially, in accordance with our physician surveys' findings, your content will be succinct, downloadable for reading-on-the-go, with bulleted summaries, and under 6 minutes long.

  • Our digital format is designed for maximum impact with your readers and optimized for all devices including mobile.

With our skills and knowledge, our Clinical Custom Content service can help you attract the attention of time-poor physicians — by elevating your message above the crowd and delivering it to your desired audience in the most successful way.

Contact us to discuss working with us on your own clinical content.



See all posts