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.