Magazine article Information Today

Users Turn to Healthcare Data Online

Magazine article Information Today

Users Turn to Healthcare Data Online

Article excerpt

Internet behavior has been linked to a number of demographic factors since researchers have conducted extensive studies about its use. Age and income level are commonly linked to internet use, with race and education also appearing in studies alongside internet usage statistics. But with more and more people attempting self-diagnosis or researching medical treatments on the internet, there's a new demographic survey of internet users that focuses on medical conditions and behavior.

A new presentation from the Pew Internet & American Life Project puts this demographic data into perspective from a healthcare standpoint. "Segmenting the Health Consumer Population," presented to Strategic Social Media for Healthcare on July 28, draws on information from several Pew studies and other sources. The report was presented by Susannah Fox, the Pew Internet & American Life Project's associate director of digital strategy.

Fox cites a 2009 Pew report, "The Social Life of Health Information," on the behavior of those who seek healthcare information online. Women are more likely to seek such information (64% to 57% of men), and internet users are more likely to look for medical information online if they are younger, better-educated, and wealthier, all trends that correspond to other online behavior. Respondents with household incomes exceeding $75,000 per year are almost twice as likely to turn to the internet for information about health or medical issues than respondents who make less than $30,000 annually (82% to 44%). …

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