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Online health information on the rise, report says

A study shows that one in three US adults look to the web for medical diagnosis.
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Fifty-nine percent of American adults have looked online for health information in the last year, according to a report released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project (Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images)

More Americans are turning to the web for medical advice, a new study reports.

Fifty-nine percent of American adults have looked online for health information in the last year, according to a report released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project on January 15. One in 3 adults surveyed have used the internet specifically to figure out a medical condition.

Forty-one percent of those who used the internet to figure out a medical condition said that a medical professional confirmed the diagnosis they found online, while 18 percent say a medical professional did not agree with the diagnosis. Thirty-five percent didn’t consult a medical professional. 

“Many have now added the internet to their personal health toolbox, helping themselves and their loved ones better understand what might be ailing them,” the study reports, also careful to mention that the study “measures the scope, but not the outcome, of this activity.”

 

Some other highlights from the study:

- Women are more likely than men to go online to diagnose a health condition.

- Half of online health searches are on behalf of someone else

- 8 in 10 online health inquiries start at a search engine

- Of the US adults who own a cell phone, 31% have used their phone to find health information online.
 

View the full report here.

More from GlobalPost: Op-Ed: What eLearning can do for global health

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/global-pulse/online-health-information-the-rise-report-says

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