35% of Americans Are Online Diagnosers According to Recent Pew Report

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35% of Americans are online diagnosers according to recent Pew Report that examines the growing trend of Americans turning to the Internet to figure out a medical condition.

1 in 3 Americans adults have gone online to figure out a medical condition according to recent findings from a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

The report calls those who search the Internet for answers related to their medical conditions, “online diagnosers.” The findings report that 46% of online diagnosers felt the information they found online led them to think they needed the attention of a medical professional while 38% of respondents felt it was something they could take care without medical attention. 11% said it was both or in-between. Women are more likely than men to search online to figure out a medical diagnosis.

The figure shown below is a summary of the findings of online diagnosis and professional follow-up.

35% of Americans Are Online Diagnosers According to Recent Pew Report

The results of the reported came from a nationwide survey of 3,014 adults living in the United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (1,808) and cell phone (1,206, including 624 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Interviews were done in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from August 7 to September 6, 2012. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • 8 in 10 online health inquiries  start at a search engine
  • Half of health information searches are on behalf of someone else
  • 1 in 4 four people seeking health information online have hit a pay wall
  • The social life of health information is a low-key, but steady presence in American life
  • Clinicians are a central resource for information or support during serious health episodes – and the care and conversation take place mostly offline
  • Younger adults and minorities lead the way with mobile health information search
  • Half of smartphone owners have used their  phone to look up health information

Click here to view/download the entire report.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Project is nonpartisan and takes no position on policy issues. Support for the Project is provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts.