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Pew Report Covers Online Health in 2013


Increasing numbers of Americans rely on the Internet for an array of healthcare needs – from remote monitoring to supportive social communities to searching for health answers.  A new Pew Internet and American Life Project report shows that broadband has become an important tool for many.  Here are a few examples of how Americans are using the Internet for their health questions:

Search Engines. Pew finds 8 in 10 broadband users turn to search engines to initiate health queries. 77% of online health seekers tap into search engines, like Google or Yahoo. 13% say they consult a health information website, such as WebMD, and a mere 1% start their search on a social network website.

Diagnosis. More than a third of U.S. adults say they have used the Internet to try to diagnose a medical condition. 46% of online diagnosers agreed that the information they found online prompted a doctor’s visit.  41% said a medical professional ultimately confirmed their diagnosis, while 18% were offered another opinion. 

The Social Connection. Some Americans are turning to social forums to learn about health issues. 16% of Internet users said they went online to find others who have comparable health issues, and 26% said they read or watched someone else’s health experience over the past 12 months.

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