The Second Opinion: How the Web Drives Healthcare Decisions

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released the results of its survey into how and when Americans use the Internet to gather health information. In The Social Life of Health Information, Pew reports that Americans are turning to an increasingly broader array of online and offline resources in their search for health information.

Highlights from the report include:
* 83 percent of online adults have looked on the Web for health information. (Since 2002, Pew Internet Project surveys have consistently found that 75-83 percent of Internet users look online for health information.)

* Half of online health inquiries are done on behalf of someone else, such as a family member or friend.

* 57% of e-patients say that their most recent online health inquiry had an impact on their own healthcare or the way they care for someone else.

* 60% of e-patients say they or someone they know has been helped by following medical advice or health information found on the Internet.

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