June 11, 2009

The Social Life of Health Information

Doctors or other health professionals

47% of internet users look online for information about doctors or other health professionals.

Nearly half (47%) of internet users, or 35% of adults, have turned to the internet for information about doctors or other health professionals.

Some 37% of adults seeking information about doctors (or 20% of all internet users) consulted rankings or reviews online of doctors or other providers. These health information seekers, however, are not likely to post their own reviews of doctors: just 7% of those who looked for information about doctors online (and 4% of all internet users) report posting a review of a doctor online.

Doctors

Demographics

Online women, internet users under the age of 65, and internet users with higher levels of income and education are significantly more likely than other demographics to look online for information about doctors and other health professionals.

Over half of online women (52%) research doctors and other health professionals online, compared with 41% of men.

Wired seniors are significantly less likely than younger age groups to look for information about doctors online. Just over a quarter (26%) of wired seniors look online for this information, while 43% of internet users age 50-64, 52% of internet users age 30-49, and 49% of internet users age 18-29 do so.

Internet users with some college education along with college graduates are significantly more likely than those with less education to look online for information about doctors or health professionals. Over half (55%) of college graduates and half (50%) of internet users with some college education have sought information about doctors online, compared with just 37% of those with a high school diploma and about a third (34%) of internet users with no high school education.

Finally, internet users living in households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more are significantly more likely than those in households making less than $30,000 a year to look for information about a doctor or health professional online.

Doctors or other health professionals