Your health and the Internet in 2013

Your health and the Internet in 2013

In this week’s roundup of interesting facts and stats from around the web, we’ll take a look at your health and the Internet in 2013. Today, the Pew Research Center Internet & American Life released a survey titled: Health Online 2013.

The report, released today, found that as of September 2012, 81% of U.S. adults use the Internet and, of those, 72% say they have looked online for health information in the past year.

Other key findings of the survey include:
• 16% of Internet users went online to find other individuals who might be dealing with the same medical issue or health concern
• One in three American adults (35%) have used the Internet to find information about a medical condition
• 30% of Internet users have read online reviews or rankings of health care services or treatments

Who is most likely to seek health information online?
The Pew Internet survey found that women are most likely to look online for health related information. The report also found that half of health information searches were completed for the benefit of someone else.

What does this mean?
The report concedes that most care takes place offline, rather than online. However, it is becoming more common for people to do research online before arranging to meet with their physician or health care provider.

Another Pew study, Mobile Health 2012, found that one in three cell phone owners (31%) have used their phone to look for health information, and increase from 17% two years ago. In addition, one in five smartphone owners have a health app.

To take advantage of this trend, those in the health industry should do their best to ensure ease of access to information by providing accurate and searchable information, mobile friendly sites, and perhaps also doing their part to correct misinformation online. Because 8 out of every 10 health inquiries begin with a search engine, SEO is also something that these organizations should consider.

Do you conduct searches for health information online?

Reports referenced:
Health Online 2013
Fox, S. & Duggan, M., Health Online 2013, Pew Internet & American Life Project, January 15, 2013, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Health-online.aspx, January 15, 2013.

Mobile Health 2012
Fox, S. & Duggan, M.,Mobile Health 2012, Pew Internet & American Life Project, November 8, 2012, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Mobile-Health.aspx, January 15, 2013.

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