August 22, 2005

Dr. Mom Goes Online

The Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery had an article last week about internet use among parents whose children are facing an outpatient procedure, such as a tonsillectomy or the insertion of ear tubes. The study found that 83% of parents had internet access and that 48% of parents had searched online for information related to their child’s diagnosis and surgical procedure. Fully 93% of these parents said they found good information online, 84% said that the information influenced the medical decision they faced, and 43% said they discussed what they found online with their child’s surgeon.

The findings correlate with our national samples. For example, our “Teens and Technology” study found that 80% of parents with teens living at home have internet access and our “Health Information Online” report found that 51% of internet users have looked up a certain medical treatment or procedure. Online parents are no more likely than non-parents to have researched treatment options, but they are significantly more likely than non-parents to look for information about health insurance (38% vs. 26%) and immunizations (22% vs. 12%).