Technology is an emerging source for health informationThe survey also found there continues to be a rapid evolution in how technology is changing the way people access healthcare. The survey suggests Americans want technology to become a bigger part of the healthcare system with 64 percent using online health resources and 94 percent of those saying the health/medical information they find online is important to their health. And yet only 12 percent of respondents have emailed or sent a text message to a physician regarding a health question."It's interesting to me that a third of people have never looked up their health condition or symptoms on the Internet, while nearly 90 percent have never emailed or texted with their doctor," Dr. James Hamblin, M.D., TheAtlantic.com's health editor, said. "That last point may be a slippery slope in terms of a physician's limited time and work-life balance, not to mention limited compensation structures for that kind of communication, but it seems to me one area where the healthcare community could achieve a happier medium. Imagine being able to ask your doctor a quick question or check in with him or her directly without going all the way to an office visit." The younger population, in general, are far more prone to embrace and utilize health information technology; however, this group also tends to place greater emphasis on removing face-to-face interaction with healthcare professionals and self-diagnosing their conditions. Additional findings include:
- More than 1 in 3 young Americans are willing to have primarily online interaction with doctors. Young people (defined as those under age 30), Hispanics and upper-income Americans are most open to communicating with their doctor mainly through text messages or e-mails.
- Young people and Hispanics are eager to use web applications to help improve their health.
- 40 percent of Americans who use online resources self diagnose.
- 32 percent of Americans under 30 who use online health resources act on the information they find without consulting a medical professional.
- And significant proportions use health websites for purposes that would otherwise require doctors' visits.