Internet Has Changed the Way a Third of Americans Manage Health Care: Study

One in three Americans report that the Internet "has changed the way I go about managing and maintaining my health," according to an Illuminas study commissioned by Cisco. Sixty-two percent reported they have used online health tools and more than half, 56 percent, reported an improvement in their health management due to personal technology.

In addition, nearly one in four of Americans reported that they were a healthier person today because of the Internet. The Internet has rapidly become a primary source for health information and advice, even rivaling the family physician. When asked what sources they were likely to go for information and advice, 62 percent said their physician, but 44 percent said medical Web sites and 32 percent said an online search. In fact, the Internet accounted for three of the top five sources of information.

While many Americans said they use the Internet to manage their health, they also reported that most physicians appear slow to utilize it. Sixty-two percent said that their doctor doesn't offer Internet-based tools such as the ability to directly e-mail them, schedule an appointment online, or check a Web site with information on the practice or credentials. And only 27 percent responded.

The Illuminas survey of 4,105 adults was conducted between Jan. 29-Feb. 14. For more information about the survey and Illuminas, visit: http://austin.illuminas-global.com/cisco_health_management.htm.

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