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New Pew Internet Health Reports

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Last month Pew Internet and American Life Project released two new health reports that explore how technology and the internet play a role in health, wellness and health education. The data from the reports demonstrates that as technologies such as the internet, social networking and mobile devices become integral parts of our everyday life these technologies change how we seek out and understand health information.

The Health Topics report provides a great deal of information about internet users’ interest in health information. The report found that 80% of internet users look for health information online. While many individuals use the internet to find food and drug safety information, searches for symptoms and treatments “dominate health searches on the web.” According to the findings, looking for health information is the third most popular online activity. The report provides data and information about how people are using the internet to find health information.

The latest report, Peer-to-Peer Healthcare provides information about the changing nature of how Americans seek health information. Historically “many Americans have turned to friends and family for support and advice when they have a health problem.” This report demonstrates how online communities are expanding the network people have when seeking personal health information and advice.

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According to the report individuals living with chronic or rare diseases increasingly “use online connections to supplement professional medical advice.” As online communities expand individuals have more access to finding and connecting with other people who share similar medical histories or are willing to provide support and advice on health topics.

Both reports provide new perspectives on health in American. Online health information is changing the way individuals manage their health and interact with their physicians. Finding ways to ensure that all internet users are successful in finding accurate and update to date health information online is an important part of achieving better health outcomes for many Americans.

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