More and more caregivers are using the Internet to find health information, social support, drug and medicine reviews, and online doctor reviews and provider ratings, according to a study published in 2013 by the Pew Research Center.
Caregivers – or adults who are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues, and are thus highly engaged in the pursuit of health information – are also using the Internet as a medical tool, according to the report, “Family Caregivers are Wired for Health.” The difference is: they’re doing so at higher levels of activity than do non-caregivers.
According to the study, 39 percent of all US adults are caregivers, and that they are much more wired and engaged in seeking health information online. In fact…
- 24 percent of caregivers consult online reviews of drugs and medical treatments, compared to only 13 percent of other Internet users (non-caregivers)
- 22 percent check out online doctor review sites for doctor and provider ratings, compared to only 14 percent of non-caregivers
- 72 percent have gathered health information online, and 52 percent have, in the past year, participated in some form of online social activity that’s related to health
- 6 percent of caregivers post online reviews of doctors, and 4 percent post reviews of hospitals
(Check out: “Online Doctor Reviews Reveal What Matters Most to Patients”)
These numbers are results from a survey of over 3,000 adults in the US. “More Americans are finding themselves on the front lines of health care as caregivers to a loved one, and often with little warning,” said Susannah Fox, lead author of the report and associate director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “Caregivers vividly illustrate a primary truth about the social impact of the internet: it enables people to quickly gather information on a complex topic in order to make better decisions.”
For more information, check out the nicely done graphics below:
(Infographic credit: Pew Research Center)