Should any of us really be surprised at this point, more than 20 years after the web really took hold in society, that so many of us turn to it for advice, guidance and a little help navigating our health diagnosis and outcomes.
According to a recent report featured in American Medical News, most of us in America are turning to the web to help in dealing with our symptoms. What has traditionally been a vehicle to identify the condition associated with our symptoms and has now taken on the role of confidant in all things healthcare related.
For example, we are hitting the web to research which physicians to see, what treatment options there are, services provided by care facilities and pharmacies, and thing else we believe will be useful to our longevity and comfort.
This is not surprising. We live on the web. Just this week I went online before deciding to call my daughter’s pediatrician to see what to do about her fever and if it was getting to high. While there, I also took a look around to find tips for breaking it and to see whether I should be packing her in blankets or letting her “breath.”
In the end, all of the information I found about my daughter’s condition turned out to be true and was verified by her pediatrician.
Apparently, this is exactly how about 75 percent of the rest of us feel. Granted, if I were in a real emergency or needed immediate care, I wouldn’t be hitting the web first, but I’m actually scratching my head a little about why this information, about people turning to the web, is such a revelation.
As we all continue to move online, the web is going to become more and more a part of our lives. And really, we’re already seeing services like telehealth and remote video consults filling voids where services are required.
On top of this, there are companies like HealthTap that actually allow patients to interact with a panel of physicians online and ask questions or seek medical guidance. Clearly this is the new normal, the present path.
So, again, I’m left wondering why it’s so interesting that three quarters of the U.S. population taps a few keys to find the best information available to them. If nothing else, this should mean we are the most educated patients in the history of mankind, which could lead to better results, and … wait for it … more engaged individuals.
I leave you with the following bit of info about others like me (though I’m without chronic condition), pulled directly from American Medical News (thanks, guys!):
Chronic care patients rely on information online
A Manhattan Research survey found that 54 percent of patients who use the Internet say their healthcare decisions, including choices of physicians and medications, are influenced by information they find online. And 79 percent of patients diagnosed in the past three months with a chronic condition are likely to use what they see online. Percentages of patients who are influenced by online health information by conditions:
69%: Crohn’s disease
68%: Rheumatoid arthritis
66%: Bipolar disorder
66%: Skin cancer
66%: Hepatitis C