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Patients and the influence of 'digital ecosystems'

54 per cent of US public say online information influences healthcare choices

More than half of the US public acknowledge the influence of online information or tools on their choice of healthcare providers, treatments or services, according to a new study.

Manhattan Research found that prescription drug decisions in particular were influenced by internet resources, with one in five online consumers noting their influence.

Monique Levy, vice president of research at Manhattan Research, said: “Consumers are relying on new digital ecosystems to shape a multitude of daily decisions, from retail products to travel, and we're starting to see this trickle down to healthcare.

“This trend will become stronger as more consumers rely on mobile devices to make just-in-time decisions.”

Other findings from the research included the greater influence online resources have on the health choices of newly diagnosed patients, compared to those living with conditions for over a year.

Seventy nine per cent of online patients diagnosed with a chronic condition within the past three months said the internet influenced their choices, compared to 53 per cent of patients diagnosed with a chronic condition more than one year ago. 

The study also found that certain patient audiences were more likely than others to rely more on internet material, with angina patients topping the chart, followed by those with ADHD, Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia and insomnia.

The healthcare research firm surveyed 8,745 US adults during the third quarter of 2012 for its Cybercitizen Health US study.

In findings released earlier this month Manhattan Research said the same study showed public use of iPads and other tablet devices for a broad range of health activity doubled over the last year.

30th October 2012

From: Sales, Marketing, Healthcare

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