Pew Releases Report on Health Web Search

The Pew Internet & American Life project has just released a new survey (download the PDF here) examining the behavior of the American public when it comes to on-line search for health information.

The Headline:

Most internet users start at a search engine when looking for health information online.
Very few check the source and date of the information they find.

About 10 million people search for health information each day, but only 15 percent check the validity of sources they find. The Pew pollsters hypothesize that it is because about 10 times as many people say they have had positive health results from their on-line information quests as compared to those who say they got bum info.

For people looking for trustworthy health information, I would suggest (in addition to the official government sites like NIH and CDC) MayoClinic.com for general health information or mayoclinic.org for information about specific treatments at Mayo Clinic. I know the people who work on both sites, and I know the editing and double-checking processes ensure that the information will be reliable. If you don’t check the sources, they have.

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Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 14. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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