Searching for healthcare information has consistently ranked among the most popular search activities on the Web – in fact, in the case of aging baby boomers, it ranks at the top of all Web activities, even higher than using email. So does that mean it has reached saturation point?
eMarketer reports on a new study by Harris Interactive that finds the number of adult Internet users searching for health information has plateaued. It reports: “Harris said that changes in its survey methodology could account for the dip, but its overall finding was that growth in the percentage of adult Internet users who looked for health information online had leveled off.”
It is not believed this is a reflection in the quality of the information. Harris found that “respondents were largely credulous about the health information they found online: 86% of online health searchers said the information they located on the Internet was reliable.”
So doctors will not get a reprieve of patients researching their symptoms on the Internet before fronting up to their surgery!