A new study revealed that 35 percent of American adults have turned to the Internet for a medical diagnosis for themselves, or someone else. The study also found that women are more likely to use the Internet for a diagnosis than men.
The study, which was done by the Pew Research Center, found that groups such as younger people, white adults, college graduates and people with an income over $75,000 were more to do their medical research online.
Over 3,000 Americans were interviewed by telephone between August and September 2012 for the study. Of the one in three Americans that admitted to using the Internet for a medical diagnosis, a third said they did not go to the doctor, while 41 percent said a doctor confirmed their diagnosis. Eighteen percent said a doctor did not agree with their diagnosis.
The study also found that 77 percent of research began at search engine sites such as Google, Yahoo or Bing, while 13 percent started their research on health sites, such as WebMD. About half of these searches were on behalf of someone else.
Although people have tried to answer health questions at home, the growth of the Internet has made research more accessible and easier to find. However, the Pew Research Center study does not measure whether the Internet has a good or bad outcome on health care and believes that clinicians are central information source during a serious health episode.
If you believe you have a serious medical condition, talking to a doctor is important.