Cultural variations in how consumers interact withhealthcare websites

10 Jan 2008 - 11:17am
8 years ago
2 replies
534 reads
Ferran Alvarez

Hello from Spain. The same happens here, the user sequence is something like

a) go and have a quick the official product 'website'
b) search at google to see what other users are talking about athe product
c) contact the manufacturer through a website form

This is what I could experience from two projects for chemical and
healthcare-related companies, six and two years ago.

Ferran Alvarez


10 Jan 2008 - 12:38pm
gretchen anderson

Here's what I pulled from a project I did about healthcare in Japan a
few years ago:

1. Doctors are perceived and perceive themselves so that they are
much more paternal. You go to a hospital and wait ALL DAY to get to a
doc, and this is accepted and standard. Once there, you accept what they
say much more than here. This leads me to believe this would make a
healthcare website need to be a bit different.
2. Hospital stays in Japan are average 30 days compared to 2 or 3
in the US. Again, this has to do with the overall paradigm. "Hospital
stays are longer in Japan but surgery is only 1/3rd as prevalent, mostly
owing to a resistance towards invasive procedures. Nevertheless,
patients stick around longer -- an average of 33 days in the hospital --
and are allowed to convalesce there."
3. From the same article: "In Japan, primary care services are
often more expensive than specialized care services, an inversion of
most countries. Physician visits are often brief, but the Japanese hit
the doctor's office 2.5 times more often than do Americans, Canadians,
Germans or the English."
4. More about the system here:
5. Drugs tend to be over-prescribed:
731.html I include this because I think you could argue that there's a
lot to uncover here that this is merely a *symptom* of.
6. I can't remember why I bookmarked this specifically, but maybe
it's got some fodder? ;)

Also, I think you could make a basic argument that differences in the
way healthcare is funded between the US and Europe and Asia will defacto
mean differences in mental model/psychology.
Good luck!


10 Jan 2008 - 5:30pm
Jeff Seager

You mean everybody doesn't think *just like me*?

This links to a written introduction and an audio transcript of a
program called "In Any Language: Mental Health Care for Immigrants"
on the National Public Radio series "The Infinite Mind."

I was driving one night, and listened to the whole thing. Good stuff
about cultural differences in the perception of mental health and
mental health care.

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