A recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 61% of American adults are e-patients, meaning they look online for health information. In a presentation for the Medical Library Association Tri-Chapter Conference earlier this month, Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet Project, reported on what survey data indicated about questions like these:
- What kind of health information do e-patients seek?
- How many e-patients use mobile devices as opposed to more stationary computers?
- How many use social media to connect with healthcare providers or other patients?
- How many e-patients are also e-participators, meaning they create, tag, and share health content online?
- How satisfied are e-patients with the information they find online?
Take a guess at what the percentages will be before you look at the slides. Any surprises?
Pew Internet also provides a useful typology of e-patients based on device preferences, online behaviors, and demographics. Are you a Desktop Veteran, or maybe a Roving Node? What about your library users or the people in your community you would like to reach? Understanding how your preferences may differ from theirs is an important first step in planning effective outreach.