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Must Read: Pew Releases The Social Life Of Health Information


Update: I just read Susannah Fox's summary of the data on  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

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6 Comments/Trackbacks

Thanks, Fard! I would love to hear more about the audience targets on the social network sites and which companies/industries are gaining traction in that space. I think there's a mismatch right now (in general!) between who is using social tech to best advantage (younger, more educated) and who might benefit from social tech (older, less educated).

As always, an excellent point Fard. At Compass, we've found that for two of our brands focusing on rare diseases, there is a significant presence on Facebook. While we are talking small numbers, relative to the overall patient population this is a great place to observe what patients are saying/thinking.

It is very useful and the postings are very interesting for more information you can check :

The information provided in this post is interesting, if you visit this site: you may get more idea about health care.

That isn't a very large percentage of adults actually engaging in health is it? Considering we are currently in the midst of a major health care change in this country, you think more people would be visiting blogs and health sites to gauge some of the topics being discussed.
Well, just another mark on the chalkboard as to exactly why the World Health Organization voted the US as the 37th best nation for health care.,com_sectionex/Itemid,200076/id,8/view,category/#catid107
Health care is going to change, hopefully we can coax it in the right direction and refocus into a preventative care system.

HCX is the leading technology enabler which uses its all-encompassing software solution for its hospital, partner and patient management.
Healthcare has become more and more data intensive and anyone that has the ability to analyze and drive intelligence from the data that they
accumulate has the advantage. This advantage can be translated into effective solutions that drive down costs.

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