Many Americans turn to friends and family for support and advice when they have a health problem. This report shows how people’s networks are expanding to include online peers, particularly in the crucible of rare disease. Health professionals remain the central source of information for most Americans, but "peer-to-peer healthcare" is a significant supplement.
This report is based in part on a national telephone survey of 3,001 adults which captures an estimate of how widespread this activity is in the U.S. All numerical data included in the report is based on the telephone survey. The other part of the analysis is based on an online survey of 2,156 members of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) who wrote short essays about their use of the internet in caring for themselves or for their loved ones.