The Rise in Online Health Engagement

Health consumers now have better access to information and can easily track their personal health data online as reported by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation. This report has shown the trend of self-tracking of health by consumers for the first time in a national survey.

As the healthcare industry invests in methods of accessing personal health data, the concern becomes whether or not the consumers will engage in that data. The report attempts to answer that question with findings such as 27% of internet users and 20% of the adult population have used the Internet for tracking weight, diet, exercise routines, symptoms and health indicators.

24% of internet users have tracked reviews about particular drugs and medical treatments online. 38% of caregivers consult these online reviews for the health concerns of a loved one. Older adults are less likely to search for themselves but they more often than not have loved ones who can use the Internet and search out information for them.

A large number of people use wireless access to health information on cell phones, laptops or tablets. Wireless users can also get location enabled information like nearest clinics or hospitals. Social network sites have come forward as a less used resource for health information. Only 15% of users track healthcare information on social media.