A survey of 5210 adults found that 54% of healthcare consumers are increasingly using the Internet and online resources to assist them in choosing healthcare providers, treatments, and services. The research was conducted by Manhattan Research, a pharmaceutical and healthcare market research and services firm. Other studies have reported that 75% of the adults in the United States use Internet resources to obtain healthcare information.
Senior research analyst for Manhattan Research Maureen Malloy reports that an ever-increasing number of people are comfortable using the Internet, so the progression to using the Internet to answer healthcare questions is a logical one. In the last 3 months prior to release of the report, 79% of those diagnosed with a chronic disease used the Internet to influence care decisions. People with chronic diseases such as angina, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Crohn disease, fibromyalgia, insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, and hepatitis C were groups most likely to use the Internet for health information. Additionally, 1 of every 5 healthcare consumers uses the Internet to select a primary care provider.
The American Medical News Web site focuses on physicians and suggests that they establish an online presence by providing information about who they are and what they do. One physician suggests, “Just go and Google your name” to find out what your patients can find out about you on the Internet. Although the article focuses on physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners are advised to heed the advice. As good communicators, nurses should be able to effectively provide healthcare consumers with information encouraging them to choose nurses to provide those healthcare needs the nurses can provide.
Source: Dolan PL. November 5, 2012. Patients online drill deep for information on doctors, procedures.Amednews.com. Available at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/11/05/bisb1105.htm. Accessed December 7, 2012.
Submitted: by Robin E. Pattillo, PhD, RN, CNL, [email protected]