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Health Online 2013 Report Released

This week the Pew Internet and American Life Project released the Health Online 2013 report. Results were collected August 7 through September 6, 2012 with data coming from a nationwide survey of 3,014 adults living in the United States. The report provides current data related to online health information. 35% of US adults report that they have gone online to try to find information about their own health condition or a condition someone else might have.

According to the report 77% started their search for health information online using a search engine such as Google while only 13% began their search at a site that specializes in health information such as MedlinePlus or WebMD.

Online health information seekers are also using the internet as a diagnostic tool. 59% of those who have looked for health information online report trying to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have. According to the report this “translates to 35% of US adults.” 53% of these “online diagnoses” report speaking with a medical professional about what they found online.

Image showing data from report
1) 59% of US adults have looked online for health information in the past year. 2) 35% of US adults say they have used the inernet to try to figure out what medical condition they or another may have. We call them “online diagnosers.” 3) 53% of online diagnosers talked with a clinician about what they found online. 4) 41% of online diagnosers had their condition confirmed by a clinician. (Image from Health Online 2013 Report)

The report found that while 85% of US adults own a cell phone, younger adults and minorities are more likely to use a mobile device to search for health information.

Also included in the report are statistics about peer-to-peer health advice and health care reviews. The report found that despite the popularity of Consumer Reports type reviews for products and services, health care reviews have not yet caught on among general consumers. Also of interest, the report found that when looking for health information online, about 26% of those polled were asked to pay for access to content.

The full Health Online 2013 report can be found online and provides access to more data and statistics related to health information and online health search behaviors.

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