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The Online Health Care Revolution: How the Web helps Americans take better care of themselves

The Online Health Care Revolution: How the Web helps Americans take better care of themselves

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Published by everyoneMD
From the Pew Internet & American Life Project, Washington DC, Nov. 26, 2000
From the Pew Internet & American Life Project, Washington DC, Nov. 26, 2000

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Published by: everyoneMD on Aug 01, 2007
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09/06/2012

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Pew Internet & American Life Project: Online life report
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE AT NOON (EST)SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26
The online health care revolution:
 How the Web helps Americanstake better care of themselves
Principal authors: Susannah Fox, Director of Research,Lee Rainie, DirectorJohn Horrigan, Senior Research SpecialistAmanda Lenhart, Research SpecialistTom Spooner, Research SpecialistMaura Burke, Research AssistantOliver Lewis, Research AssistantCornelia Carter, ManagerThe Pew Internet & American Life Project1100 Connecticut AvenueSuite 710Washington, DC 20036202.296.0019
 
Pew Internet & American Life: Online life report 
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The Pew Internet & American Life Project worked closely with Georgetown University’sHealth Privacy Project on this report. HPP Director Janlori Goldman and Senior PolicyAnalyst Zoe Hudson were very helpful in the drafting of several survey questionnaires andthe analysis of the results. The sections of this report that deal with privacy issues werewritten with their assistance.Our two projects will also issue a joint report in the coming months that will assess theimplications for the Internet health community – both consumers and companies – of thehealth-privacy rules that will soon be issued by the federal Department of Health andHuman Services.The Health Privacy Project is located at:The Institute for Health Care Research and Policy2233 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite 525Washington, D.C. 20007202-687-0880email: goldmajl@gunet.Georgetown.eduhttp://www.healthprivacy.org 
 
Pew Internet & American Life: Online life report 
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The Internet’s powerful influence on “health seekers
Fifty-two million American adults, or 55% of those with Internet access, have usedthe Web to get health or medical information. We call them “health seekers” and amajority of them go online at least once a month for health information. A greatmany health seekers say the resources they find on the Web have a direct effect onthe decisions they make about their health care and on their interactions withdoctors.
48% of these health seekers say the advice they found on the Web has improved theway they take care of themselves; and 55% say access to the Internet has improvedthe way they get medical and health information.
92% of health seekers say the information they found during their last online searchwas useful; 81% said they learned something new.
47% of those who sought health information
 for themselves
during their last onlinesearch say the material affected their decisions about treatments and care. Half of these health seekers say the information influenced the way they eat and exercise.
36% of those who sought health information
 for someone else
during their last onlinesearch say the material affected their decisions on behalf of that loved one.
The specific impact 
For the 21 million health seekers who say they were swayed by what they read onlinethe last time they sought health information, the impact was as follows:
70% said the Web information influenced their decision about how to treat an illnessor condition.
 
50% said the Web information led them to ask a doctor new questions or get asecond opinion from another doctor.
 
28% said the Web information affected their decision about whether or not to visit adoctor.
 
For illness, including mental illness, more than for fitness
The Internet is a tool for the sick more than it is an educational resource for thosewho want to stay well.
91% of health seekers have looked for material related to a physical illness.
26% have looked for mental health information.
13% have sought information about fitness and nutrition, 11% have sought basicnews about health care, and 9% have sought information about specific doctors,hospitals, or medicines.
For research, more than interaction with providers

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