Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Technology Is Changing Patients’ Healthcare Experience

Patients who use the internet to find health-related information say it’s having a significant impact on the way they care for themselves and others, according to Navigating the New Health Care Delivery System, a study conducted by the Pew Internet Project in partnership with the California HealthCare Foundation.

While the final report is not out yet, Pew’s Susannah Fox has previewed some of the findings, including the following interesting tidbits:

• 8 out of 10 internet users — or 61% of U.S. adults — have looked online for health information.

• While the vast majority of people with a health question want to consult a health professional, the second most popular choice is friends and family. Third choice: the internet and books.

• 41% of “e-patients” have read someone else's commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website or blog.

• One-quarter of e-patients have consulted rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers online.

• One-quarter of e-patients have consulted rankings or reviews online of hospitals or other medical facilities.

• While online health research does not replace traditional sources of health information, the Pew Internet Project finds that e-patients are using the internet to reinforce and supplement traditional sources of care.

It’s not surprising then, that “the majority of consumers want to share decision-making with their doctor. In fact, only 20% are content to let their doctor control those decisions, according to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions in its 2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers.

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