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Report shows 72 percent of caregivers turn to the Internet for health information

A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that 72 percent of caregivers have used the Internet to gather health information, and 46 percent have gone online for a diagnosis.

The findings are based on data from a national telephone survey conducted from Aug. 7 – Sept. 6, 2012 involving 3,014 adults living in the United States. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline and cell phone. Here is a sampling of what the survey results showed:

  • Four in ten adults in the U.S. are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues, up from 30 percent in 2010.
  • Among caregivers, 24 percent consult online reviews of drugs compared to 13 percent of non-caregivers.
  • Eighty-seven percent of caregivers in the U.S. own a cell phone and, of those, 37 percent say they have used their phone to look for health or medical information online. This is a significantly higher than the rate of mobile health search among non-caregivers at the time of the survey: 84% of non-caregivers own a cell phone and 27% have used their phone to look online for health information.
  • Fifty-nine percent of caregivers with internet access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to provide care and support for the person in their care.
  • Fifty-two percent of caregivers with internet access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to cope with the stress of being a caregiver.

The full report, which offers additional information on the demographics of caregivers, is worth taking a moment to read.

Previously: How social media and online communities can improve clinical care for elderly patients, Study shows Internet can help raise awareness about cancer prevention, A look at social-media use among psoriasis patients and Patient online peer group offers community, drives research
Photo by Orin Zebest

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