Reaching oncologists: Understanding content needs

A detailed survey by Springer Nature of 100 oncologists provided revealing insights about how oncologists consume content, and the biggest challenges they face while staying current with the latest oncology research. Marketers hoping to engage oncologists must customize content to fit the oncologists’ mindset and busy schedules.

A day in the life of an oncologist

A typical day lasts approximately 12 hours, starting early (8am) and ending late (8pm). That time is spent visiting patients (59% of respondents spend at least 17 minutes with each patient) and attending to a variety of duties, administrative and others (55% of oncologists spend at least 10 hours a week on admin work), leaving a small amount of time to catch up on the latest research in the field. 

Content consumption habits

In order to stay informed, oncologists have to carve out time within their busy schedules. During the week this most often occurs in small chunks of time in-between patient care and administrative tasks, and consists of reading content. 

This limited content consumption time — less than 60 minutes a day — makes staying current extremely difficult. According to the survey 51% of oncologists find it somewhat difficult to very difficult to stay informed, with the biggest barrier being a severe lack of time. 

Staying informed

And when oncologists have time to consume content, what information do they find most vital? By far the most common response was Treatment Advances (94%), followed by Research (75%) and Clinical Trial information (74%)

The latest knowledge in the field is clearly valued, and the most trusted sources for accessing that knowledge are medical websites (34%), medical journals (16%), and online searches (7%). As far as the most used sources, medical websites (66%), online searches (52% ), and medical journals (41%) are all prominent in the typical oncologists’ content consumption. 

Desktop computers (65%), laptops (62%), and mobile devices (59%) are the devices most commonly used for engaging with content. The preferred format is on a website (51%), while the most popular medical app content is NCCN Guidelines (75%), PubMed (60%) and Medscape (50%). 

This all points to self-informing clinicians who need content that is quick to consume, reputable, and focused. But how can content marketers meet those challenges?

Content solutions

To create content that a busy clinician — in this case, an oncologist — will take the time to read, there must be a strong focus on the format: concise, abbreviated, bulleted highlights summaries, and abstracts that can be quickly understood. 

Key findings and article highlights should be at the beginning — the survey showed that the ideal length of time to read a piece of content is 4 to 6 minutes — so making an impression early is important. 

The format should be digital — most oncologists interact with websites most frequently — with the option to download content being available. The content should include current data and new developments, be specialty specific and be interactive whenever possible, as podcasts and videos work well for weekend consumption.

Being aware of — and responsive to — the schedule needs, consumption habits, and content preferences of the audience you are marketing to can make all the difference when it comes to engaging them with a product or brand they can benefit from.

For more oncologists survey insights, please contact us to request the survey report >>

Plus, find out how brands are engaging with our Springer Nature oncology audience >>

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