According to a recent study by Pew Internet, people living with chronic conditions are more likely than other adults to tap into every health...
sanatateAccording to a recent study by Pew Internet, people living with chronic conditions are more likely than other adults to tap into every health information resource available to them, online and offline.

When asked to think about the last time they had a serious health issue and to whom they turned for help:

  • 81% of all adults living with one or more chronic conditions got information, care, or support from a doctor or other health care professional.
  • 65% of all adults living with one or more chronic conditions got information or support from friends and family.
  • 27% of all adults living with one or more chronic conditions got information or support from others who have the same health condition.

By comparison, people who report having no chronic conditions are significantly less likely to turn to each of these sources:

  • 62% of all adults who report no chronic conditions got information, care, or support from a doctor or other health care professional.
  • 56% of all adults who report no chronic conditions got information or support from friends and family.
  • 23% of all adults who report no chronic conditions got information or support from others who have the same health condition.

Seven in ten internet users, no matter their diagnosis, say they have looked online for health information in the past year. Internet users living with multiple chronic conditions are significantly more likely than other internet users to have looked online for information about a specific disease or medical problem, a certain medical treatment, and drugs.

Also, eight in ten U.S. adults who have sought health information online say they began their last inquiry at a general search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. It is not the first time that Pew analysts found this issue. Since the first health survey in 2000, the research firm found out the importance of  the online environment in the lives of Americans.

Internet users living with two or more chronic conditions are somewhat less likely than those who report no conditions to say this however: 68%, compared with 80%. Internet users who report two or more chronic conditions are more likely than other people to say they started their most recent health search at a site that specializes in health information, like WebMD: 20% say that, compared with 12% of internet users who report no conditions.

But, according to the same study, only thirty percent of online health information seekers living with chronic conditions say they have been asked to pay for access to something they wanted to see online. Eighty percent of those who encountered a pay wall say they tried to find the information somewhere else; 17% gave up; and 2% paid the fee.

By comparison, 23% of online health information seekers who report no chronic conditions say they have been asked to pay for access to information they wanted to see – a significant difference compared with those living with chronic conditions. Again, the vast majority (86%) say they did not pay, but rather tried to find the same information somewhere else. Ten percent gave up and 3% paid.

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