Searching for health – Web dependence grows

Americans increasingly are making medical decisions based on health information they get on the Internet, The Standard reported Nov. 27.

According to a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 55 percent of Americans online use the Internet to search for medical information.

And 47 percent of those obtaining health information online say the information they got directly affected their decisions about how to treat an illness or deal with their doctors.

The report is a result of telephone survey of more than 13,000 people conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project, says the growing number of people seeking health information online is related to the lack of access that Americans believe they have to their medical providers.

The one-on-one time that patients get with their doctors during an average appointment has dropped below 15 minutes she said.

The growing trend is raising concerns in the medical community.

The report found the most online health seekers rely on Internet searches instead of professional advice and often obtain their information from sites they had never heard of when the began searching.

But few people surveyed have replaced doctor’s visits with visits to health sites.

The report also found that 89 percent of Internet users surveyed fear that online health companies will collect and sell data about the medical sites they visit.

About 85 percent worry that insurance companies may change their coverage after finding out what health sites they frequent.

For full story, go to The Standard.    

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.