August 2, 2011

Peer-to-peer Healthcare

Susannah Fox took part in the National Institutes of Health seminar series, Medicine: Mind the Gap, on August 2, 2011. Members of the public were invited to attend in person or watch the webcast. The text of her remarks is now available, along with her slides:

Pew Internet’s research consistently shows that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, but online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the U.S.

As broadband and mobile access spreads, more people have the ability – and increasingly, the habit – of sharing what they are doing or thinking. In health care this translates to people tracking their workout routines, posting reviews of their medical treatments, and raising awareness about certain health conditions. One in four internet users living with a chronic condition say they have gone online to find other people who share similar health concerns, for example.

The internet provides access not only to information, but also to each other, and Pew Internet’s research documents how this has transformed the health communications landscape over the last 10 years.