The New York Times on How Patients are Using the Internet to Get Medical Advice
Earlier this week, the New York Times had an article that was very relevant to next week’s Search SIG on the “Search for Better Health.” Their article “Logging on for a Second (or Third) Opinion” had a lot of interesting data points including (from their Pew Internet and American Life Project reference)
- “of those with a high-speed connection, 1 in 9 do health research on a typical day.
- And 75 percent of online patients with a chronic problem told the researchers that ‘their last health search affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition”
According to this New York Times piece, “reliance on the Internet is so prevalent, said the report’s author, Susannah Fox, the associate director at Pew, that ‘Google is the de facto second opinion‘ for patients seeking further information after a diagnosis.”
In addition to describing all the useful health information that one can find on the Internet, it’s also intriguing to hear about the patient-to-patient information sharing. The New York Times shares an example of a lady in Oregon who used Twitter during her operation and recuperation. She attributes Twitter to helping her stop taking a certain antinasuea drug due to a friend’s warning her that her teeth chattering might be a side effect of the drug. She also put here surgery and tumor photos on Flickr.
Can we view someone in Oregon as American mainstream or are they still too close to the Valley?
The article also lists out a lot of sites that include
- General Interest ( WEbMD, Discovery Health, the Mayo Clinic)
- Medical Research ( PubMed, Clinicaltrials.gov, Psycinfo, Nccam.nih.gov )
- Patient Sites ( acor.org, e-patients.net, trusera.com)
- Disease-specific sites ( americanheart.org, cancer.org, diabetes.org, breastcancer.org, diabetesmine.com )
- Web Tools (sugarstats.com, drx.com, yourdiseaserisk.com )