How often do online U.S. adults look up information online about health topics?

The influence of the Internet on health care continues to increase. A recent poll by Harris Interactive finds that three quarters (74%) of all adults have gone online at some time to look for health information, and that 60% have done so in the previous month. The study also found:

    • 39%  of online U.S. adults report they “often” seek health-related information online, compared with 32% who reported doing so last year and 22% in 2009.
    • 90% of people who go online for health information said they believe the information they found was reliable, up from 87% in 2010 and 85% in 2009.
    • 90% said their online searches for health information were very or somewhat successful, compared with 86% last year and 83% in 2009.
    • 69% used search engines such as Google and Bing, 62% used medical websites such as WebMD and 16% used interactive forums.
    •  57% report that they discussed information found online with their doctors, up from 44% and 53% in the last two years.

What does this mean for health care providers? Go where the patients are going. Build a strong online presence to ensure that patients can find you online and to ensure there is  reliable information for those patients.

Results are based on a telephone survey of 1,019 U.S. adults conducted between Aug. 9 and Aug. 15.

Source: Harris Interactive, “The Growing Influence and Use Of Health Care Information Obtained Online

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