Update: I just read Susannah Fox's summary of the data on e-patients.net. She quoted an interesting stat from the study:
"Facebook/MySpace/Twitter fans: You’re the big loser in this survey. There is very little evidence that social networks have become e-patient hang-outs. Health orgs may want to spend their resources elsewhere for now: just 6% of e-patients who use social network sites started or joined a health-related group."
This brings up an interesting point regarding media consumption habits -- a key area I've been focusing on with clients for the past year. Before you take the plunge into social technologies you've got to understand whether your core audience is using them. While in general, the bulk of e-patients may not be utilizing these sites, you may find -- with research -- that the people you care about are. Do the research, it's worth the time, effort and money.
Today the Pew Internet and American Life Project released another must-read report for those interested in the Internet is influencing the exchange of health information. Titled "The Social Life of Health Information," the report focuses on how online health seekers or "e-patients" are using traditional and social online technologies.
Pew's report reveals that while many people are consuming health information on line, fewer are creating it. According to Pew:
But few are actively writing or creating new health content:
- 6% of e-patients have tagged or categorized online content about health or medical issues.
- 6% of e-patients report that they have posted comments, queries, or information about health or medical matters in an online discussion, listserv, or other online group forum.
- 5% of e-patients say they have posted comments about health on a blog.
- 5% of e-patients have posted a review online of a doctor.
- 4% of e-patients have posted a review online of a hospital.
- 4% have shared photos, videos or audio files online about health or medical issues.
In sum, 37% of adults, or 60% of e-patients, have done at least one of the above activities.
You can read the full report by clicking here.