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Dr. Google’s office never closes. Susannah Fox Pew Internet Project April 14, 2005. Being online is the norm – but it is not universal. 61%. Broadband adoption affects the internet health marketplace. 55 million. Hypothesis: Industrial Age medicine is dead…. medical science.

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dr google s office never closes

Dr. Google’s office never closes

Susannah Fox

Pew Internet Project

April 14, 2005


Hypothesis:Industrial Age medicine is dead…


medical science


non-MD staff


hypothesis information age medicine is here
Hypothesis: …Information Age medicine is here

my online



my search


my primary


my specialist


my online





my other

health experts

my favorite

health sites

my online



& communityware



95 million health seekers in the u s
95 million health seekers in the U.S.
  • 8 in 10 internet users have searched for at least one of 16 health topics
  • Big impact for people caring for sick loved ones
  • High expectations that reliable health care information will be online
  • Half of internet “health seekers” say they will turn first to the internet for their next health question
specific disease and treatment information top the search list
Specific disease and treatment information top the search list
  • 63% of internet users have looked online for information about a specific disease or medical problem
  • 47% for certain medical treatment or procedure
  • 44% for diet, nutrition, vitamins, or nutritional supplements
  • 36% for exercise or fitness
  • 34% for prescription or OTC drugs
  • Plus 11 other topics
how internet users gather health information
How internet users gather health information
  • Most: Scattershot searches in response to a diagnosis
  • Some: Targeted email health news or medical updates
  • Few: Online support groups or email lists for people concerned about a particular health or medical issue
bad information is dangerous
Bad information is dangerous
  • RAND/CHCF: Online advice is incomplete and hard to understand – esp. for Spanish readers
  • NEJM: Americans receive about half of recommended medical care
three types of health seeker
Three types of health seeker
  • Vigilant: 25% “always” check the source, date, and privacy policy of a health Web site
  • Concerned: 25% check “most of the time”
  • Unconcerned: 50% “only sometimes,” “hardly ever,” or “never” check
  • More Americans look for health info online than see a doctor on a typical day
  • Search engines are the starting point, not specialized sites
  • Email is used for advice and support, esp. for chronically ill & caregivers
  • Few verify information quality, but many use what they find
contact information
Contact information
  • Susannah Fox, Pew Internet & American Life Project
  • Sfox(at)pewinternet.org
  • 202 419 4500