Survey Finds 57% of U.S. Physicians Have Changed Their Perception of a Medication as a Result of Info on Social Media

Joint Sermo and LiveWorld Survey of 50+ Pharma Marketers and 200+ Physicians Finds that Social Media Plays a Major Role in Influencing Perceptions of Medications, Prescribing Habits, Ongoing Medical Education and Professional Networking

New York, NY- February 15, 2023 – A new joint survey from Sermo and LiveWorld found that 57% of U.S.-based physicians frequently or occasionally change their perception of a medication or treatment based on content they’ve seen on social media. Only 16% of surveyed physicians reported that their perceptions have never been influenced by social media. This change in perception driven by social media often leads physicians to change their prescribing habits as reported by 41% of surveyed physicians. Pharma marketers increasingly understand the value of social media influence and are invested in the future of social media in their marketing budgets. In the survey targeted to pharma marketers, 94% of respondents said that social media is an important HCP channel.

Social media is top-of-mind for pharma marketers when budget planning for 2023. 90% of those surveyed have social media in their marketing plans for 2023. 50% of these marketers anticipate an increase in budgets for social media aimed at HCPs in the coming year, and no one reported a decrease in social media spending. Pharma marketers firmly believe in the ROI of social media as 92% of those surveyed believe that social media influences clinical and treatment decisions. 

“Physicians are increasingly leveraging a variety of social media channels to meet different needs – both professionally and personally,” says Erin Fitzgerald, Chief Marketing Officer at Sermo. “In response, pharma marketers are investing more in their social strategy, understanding these channels have a vast potential to influence perception and behavior.”

Physicians are Engaging with Different Social Platforms to Meet Different Needs:

Walled-garden physician communities including Doximity and Sermo top the list of platforms  HCP’s use for clinical or professional purposes (59% and 58%, respectively). These communities are also impactful in changing physicians’ sentiment as 41% of physicians reported changing their thinking about medications as a result of seeing content on Sermo; 33% said the same of Doximity. When it comes to information sources, physicians are also more trusting of content in these closed communities. A greater percentage of surveyed physicians indicated that they have downloaded clinical or medical information and earned CME credits from closed communities such as Sermo and Doximity when compared to public social platforms such as TikTok or Facebook.

When looking at how physicians are engaging on public social platforms, the survey findings see a range of different needs being met on different platforms:

  • Physicians are turning to private medical groups on social platforms and Facebook is their platform of choice as 52% of surveyed physicians reported being part of a group on this platform. 
  • Physicians find LinkedIn the most helpful social platform for alerting them to Congress and KOL presentations as reported by 35% of surveyed physicians. 
  • Twitter is the platform of choice for physicians to follow hospitals and professional organizations as indicated by 62% of those surveyed. 

In the age of influencer marketing, physician DOLs are key:

46% of surveyed physicians reported following fellow physicians or other HCP influencers on social platforms. Reasons physicians gave for following these influencers included: their content is credible based on their credentials (27%), they are knowledgeable about the topics shared (26%), and their content is relatable to my specialty (26%). Pharma marketers indicated that they too understand the value of working with influencers as 56% of those surveyed have included digital influencer programs in their 2023 plans.

“Social media is a serious and necessary factor in HCP marketing and promotion. Social media  is being widely adopted, budgeted and planned for in 2023. Marketers have faith in its reach, persuasiveness, peer-to-peer credibility and immediacy,” according to LiveWorld VP of HCP Strategy and survey author, Danny Flamberg.

Part 1 of the survey was fielded in November 2022 to 200+ U.S-based physicians across a variety of specialties. Part 2 of the survey was fielded in December 2022 to 50+ pharma marketers from pharmaceutical firms of every size with titles ranging from Manager to VP/Director to CMO. To download the full report, click here

About Sermo: 

Sermo is a holistic healthcare insights company and the most trusted physician engagement platform. Sermo engages with more than 1.3 million HCPs across 150 countries and has reach into the U.S. Payer market covering 230M commercial lives. Their proprietary platform offers on-demand access to key healthcare stakeholders to provide business intelligence that benefits pharmaceutical, healthcare partners, and the medical community at large. To learn more, visit 

About LiveWorld:

LiveWorld is a digital agency with deep social and technology expertise that helps companies spark emotional connections, build stronger customer relationships, and drive behavior change. We live at the intersection of bold creative rooted in strategy that inspires, moderation that activates human interactions, and technology that enriches and scales customer experiences.  

With over 26 years of making connections, our integrated team leverages our social media DNA to deliver emotion driven behavior change through digital campaigns with a human touch. LiveWorld clients include the number one brands in pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and financial-travel services. LiveWorld is headquartered in Campbell, California, with an additional office in New York City. Learn more at and @LiveWorld.

Media Contact:

Allyson Noonan

AN Communications