A new report, Health Online 2013, from PEW Internet shows how much the Internet is being used to get health information. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s not higher.
“81% of U.S. adults use the internet and 59% say they have looked online for health information in the past year. 35% of U.S. adults say they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have.”
Searchers usually began at a search engine. Only a few sought a trusted health site – suggesting that there is much for people to learn about researching health matters online.
When asked to think about the last time they hunted for health or medical information, 77% of online health seekers say they began at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Another 13% say they began at a site that specializes in health information, like WebMD. Just 2% say they started their research at a more general site like Wikipedia and an additional 1% say they started at a social network site like Facebook.