Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project (PDF)
From the overview:
The internet has changed people’s relationships with information. Our data consistently show that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, but online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the U.S.
As broadband and mobile access spreads, more people have the ability – and increasingly, the habit – of sharing what they are doing or thinking. In health care this translates to people tracking their workout routines, posting reviews of their medical treatments, and raising awareness about certain health conditions.
These are not yet mainstream activities, but there are pockets of highly-engaged patients and caregivers who are taking an active role in tracking and sharing what they have learned.
The survey finds that, of the 74% of adults who use the internet:
•80% of internet users have looked online for information about any of 15 health topics such as a specific disease or treatment. This translates to 59% of all adults.
•34% of internet users, or 25% of adults, have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website, or blog.
•25% of internet users, or 19% of adults, have watched an online video about health or medical issues.
•24% of internet users, or 18% of adults, have consulted online reviews of particular drugs or medical treatments.
•18% of internet users, or 13% of adults, have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs.
•16% of internet users, or 12% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers.
•15% of internet users, or 11% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of hospitals or other medical facilities.