July 19, 2009

Would You Find or Share Your Health Info Online?

In the August 2009 issue of US News & World Report (America's Best Hospitals 2009 Issue), there was an interesting article regarding use of the internet in order to obtain as well as share health information. This article was based on research entitled "The Social Life of Health Information" conducted by the Pew Internet Project and the California Healthcare Foundation.

Some interesting statistics mentioned:

• 61% of American adults look online for health information.
• 86% of all adults ask a health professional, such as a doctor for health information.
• 68% of all adults ask a friend or family member.
• 57% of all adults use the internet.
• 54% use books or other printed reference material.
• 33% contact their insurance provider.
• 39% of e-patients use a social networking site like MySpace and Facebook and, of those, only a small portion have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates, posted their own health-related comments, gotten any health information, or joined a health-related group.
• 12% of e-patients use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or to see updates about others, and of those, few have posted comments, queries, or information about health or medical matters.

The trends shown here is probably going to grow even more significant in the future. It would behoove physicians to start taking more seriously these trends regarding where patients are finding their information and to take advantage.

Read the US News & World Report Article here.

Read the Pew Report here.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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