The Social Life of Online Health Information

  • June 11, 2009
  • By Susannah Fox and Sydney Jones

Americans' pursuit of health takes place within a widening network of both online and offline sources. Whereas someone may have in the past called a health professional, their Mom, or a good friend, they now are also reading blogs, listening to podcasts, updating their social network profile, and posting comments. And many people, once they find health information online, talk with someone about it offline.

This Pew Internet/California HealthCare survey finds that technology is not an end, but a means to accelerate the pace of discovery, widen social networks, and sharpen the questions someone might ask when they do get to talk to a health professional. Technology can help to enable the human connection in health care and the internet is turning up the information network's volume.

The findings in this report come from a national phone survey done by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project in partnership with the California HealthCare Foundation.

Read the full report The Social Life of Health Information on the Pew Internet & American Life Project's Web site.