HealthApril 06, 2020

Oncologists — what the latest data reveals about their media consumption

Learning the media consumption habits of oncologists can help you better target them with your messaging and job opportunities.

Oncologists are achieving greater efficiencies in their practices, according to Genentech. Using digital technology for patient treatment and communication, sharing data with patients and peers, and staying abreast of the latest medical developments is paying off for doctors and patients in terms of cost and convenience.

Patient Interaction

Oncologists are reporting that practices are open fewer hours, seeing the same number of patients per week, and experiencing fewer patient appointment delays because of digital tools and the hiring of advanced practice practitioners, APPs, according to the Genentech Oncology Trend Report for 2019. Kantar’s study “Sources & Interactions 2019 Medical/Surgical Edition” found a dramatic increase in the number of oncologists using mobile apps to interact with patients. Many more are also using text messaging. The table below shows the change in the percentage of doctors using various methods in 2019 compared to 2016.

 Methods Used to Interact with Patients  2016  2019
 Patient Portal  44% 41%
 Email  41% 32%
 Text message  8% 15%
 Mobile app  2% 9%
 Social media to communicate with specific patients  1% 3%
 Social media to promote practice  2% 3%

Source: Kantar Sources & Interactions 2019 Medical/Surgical Edition

Keeping Up to Date on Industry News


Digital transformation has boosted efficiencies when it comes to patient treatment and consultation times. However, it seems that when it comes to consuming medical news and industry information, oncologists prefer to read traditional printed publications. Interestingly, the trend is downward when it comes to using digital tools for industry news.

The Kantar study asked oncologists what versions of medical journals they typically read; that is, do they read print editions, digital editions, or do they rely on smartphone apps to deliver their information. The table below compares the various sources used by oncologists in 2019 compared to 2016.

 Information Source Oncologists Using this Solution
 2016  2019
 Print edition  88% 97%
 Digital edition (PDF, e-magazine, "Flip View") 42% 33%
 Publication website  23% 21%
 Smartphone or tablet 18% 17%

Source: Kantar Sources & Interactions 2019 Medical/Surgical Edition

The study also asked oncologists how important each of these formats is for helping them stay well-informed about new medical developments:

 Information Source Oncologists Using this Solution
 2016  2019
 Mobile apps  71% 69%
 Publisher newsletters 58% 64%
 CME web conference/podcast  56% 63%
 Publisher emails 52% 60%

Source: Kantar Sources & Interactions 2019 Medical/Surgical Edition

Attending Industry Events

Oncologists value industry events, and most traveled to at least two out-of-town conferences in 2019, according to the Kantar study. The reason for attending according to the majority of physicians surveyed is to learn about new products and procedures; 72% of those surveyed gave this as the reason while only 36% attended conferences to socialize with colleagues, and 34% attended to meet company representatives.

The Oncologist Recruitment Landscape

Attracting and retaining oncologists will become even more of a challenge in the coming years. According to the American Society for Radiation Oncology, rural areas in particular may find it harder in the future to fill oncologist vacancies. Since 2012, the percentage of rural radiation oncologists declined from 16 to 13 percent. Gaining insights into the habits and preferences of oncologists could assist recruiters, hospitals, and practices in developing recruitment strategies to address potential skill shortages.

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