Four in five Americans seek health advice online

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Four in five Americans seek health advice online

Strong support for eHealth investment.

A U.S. study released yesterday found that four in five Americans seek health advice online.

The report, produced by the US-based Pew Internet Project and California HealthCare Foundation, revealed strong user demand for the future e-health services and a desire for faster and more informed treatments.

Eight percent of respondents said they looked online for health information, making it the third most popular online pursuit among all those tracked by the Pew Internet Project (behind email and using a search engine).

The report noted that searching for health advice online was more often pursued by those with higher incomes, and was also noted as being consistent with findings in other Western countries including Australia.

Other findings included:

  • 66 percent of internet users look online for information about a specific disease or medical problem.
  • 56 percent of internet users look online for information about a certain medical treatment or procedure.
  • 44 percent of internet users look online for information about doctors or other health professionals.
  • 36 percent of internet users look online for information about hospitals or other medical facilities.
  • 33 percent of internet users look online for information related to health insurance 22% of internet users look online for information about environmental health hazards.
  • 29 percent of internet users look online for information about food safety or recalls.
  • 24 percent of internet users look online for information about drug safety or recalls.
  • 19 percent of internet users look online for information about pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 17 percent of internet users look online for information about memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer's.
  • 16 percent of internet users look online for information about medical test results.
  • 14 percent of internet users look online for information about how to manage chronic pain.
  • 12 percent of internet users look online for information about long-term care for an elderly or disabled person.
  • Seven percent of internet users look online for information about end-of-life decision

The report draws on findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the internet.

Results were also based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between August 9 and September 13, 2010, among a sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older.

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