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.