What Tracking Studies Tell Us About OB/GYN and Patient Perspectives on Zika Virus
By Charu Gupta

In a recent webinar, Diane Hayes, InCrowd Co-founder and Ph.D, and Phil Moyer, Senior Director of Crowd, discussed findings from two surveys conducted using InCrowd’s MicroTracker to follow U.S. OB/GYN and patient perspectives as the Zika virus takes hold in various parts of the world and as it edges closer to the U.S.

We’ve written up some of the major highlights below. Please also see our infographic below and be sure to download the full report!

In both waves, OB/GYN and patients were asked the same series of questions so as to track changes and trendlines over time.

When it comes to OB/GYNs, they are ordering more sonograms for patients considered high risk. This overall percentage jumped from 36 percent in wave 1 to 56 percent in wave 2. An interesting point this brings up is, for those physicians with high risk pregnant patients, how many additional sonograms would they have planned? For the next wave of this research, InCrowd will follow up with this question to see exactly at what frequency of sonograms puts doctors and patients at ease.

Another data point gleaned from the OB/GYN survey is their reaction to actions and precautions being taken by world governments and public health institutions. In Wave 2, physicians gave a significantly lower rating to governments and institutions taking strong precautions than they did in Wave 1. Panelists noted that medical professionals are likely feeling the need for more information and more action on the world stage. These findings were in contrast to what we heard from patients. The women surveyed in Wave 2 actually slightly increased their agreeable rankings of precautions being taken to stop the spread of Zika virus by the U.S. government and other institutions.

There are important political and scientific developments in play that could be impacting these two groups when it comes to this perception of leadership around Zika. Shortly after Wave 1 was completed, the Obama administration proposed $1.8 billion in funding for protection and preparation against the virus. Today, however, news headlines are overrun with the budget battles between Congress and the Obama administration, with many Republican elected officials citing serious concerns over Zika appropriations they say lack guidance as to how or when the money will be used.

On the other hand, there has been a lot of news about the flurry of research collaboration and activity around Zika. Just a few days after Wave 2 closed, the CDC in coordination with the WHO, made a major announcement definitively connecting the virus to microcephaly. How is this information shaping women’s trust and perspectives or their healthcare leaders?

Nonetheless, too many U.S. women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy have little to no knowledge of the Zika virus. In both waves 1 and 2, InCrowd found that nearly 20 percent of women surveyed had not heard any news about the crisis. An Associated Press poll also in April 2016 of a wider swath of Americans, echoed these findings. According to the Daily Mail, a UK-based news site, four in 10 Americans said they had heard little to nothing about Zika, including birth defects or temporarily paralysis.

“The AP data is on Americans as a whole,” said Moyer. “The population reached by InCrowd’s survey – women considering pregnancy – I would have thought to be more likely tapped into news and concerns about Zika. Their low level of awareness is surprising, and the level of awareness nationwide is even worse. It will be interesting to see what we learn in our next wave of the survey.”

InCrowd will continue to follow the data and trendlines in these two groups surveyed. According to Hayes and Moyer, there are many areas to further tease out in a wave 3 study and continue gaining insights.

Download the full report!

Zika Infographic-Final-01

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