Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Patients trust the health info they find online

According to a new survey, more patients are using the Internet to search for health information. And most of them put a high level of trust in what they find. 

With more online information readily available, 30% of Americans “always” or “frequently” turn to the Internet for answers to medical questions, according to a recent survey from Wolters Kluwer. And among those people, 65% trust that information, and 63% say they’ve never misdiagnosed themselves using info they found online.

Should doctors be concerned? While they may worry about patients making decisions based on web searches rather than actual interactions with a physician, other results in the survey suggest the trend may improve doctor-patient relationships by making patients more educated. Among patients that do online research, 67% say they’re better informed because of it. And 48% say they use online research to become better educated before they go to a doctor.

Some other good news: Just 4% of patients reported experiencing “cyberchondria” and convincing themselves they have a condition that they don’t based on information they find on the Internet.

Doctors can help patients by steering them toward helpful online resources for particular conditions. Patients are eager to learn more and take charge of their own health, and that means if they have the right information at their disposal, it could help improve their care.

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