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More than half of US adults go online for health information

And more than a third use internet for self-diagnosis

More than half the US adult population uses the internet to find health information and more than a third go online for self-diagnosis, according to a new survey.

The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project's Health Online 2013 report found that 59 per cent of those questioned said they had looked online for health information in the past year.

The report also found that 35 per cent of US adults used the internet specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they, or someone else, might have.

But the non-profit US think tank noted that, although many in the US have added the internet to their 'personal health toolbox', clinicians remain key and the vast majority of these interactions are off-line.

“Online health information is available day or night, at no cost, and the internet has become a de facto second opinion for many people,” says Susannah Fox, an associate director of the Project and lead author of the report.

“The open search box invites people to begin their journey toward better health, but this study shows that the internet is just one piece of the puzzle. Clinicians are still central.”

The report was based on telephone interviews that were conducted with 3,014 adults in the US between August and September last year.

When asked where they got information, care or support the last time they had a health issue, 70 per cent of respondents said it came from a doctor or other healthcare professional and 61 per cent said contact was made off-line.

The survey also found that 60 per cent of people asked their friends and family, putting online channels for health information (used by 59 per cent of people) into third place.

15th January 2013

From: Marketing

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