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Dr. Web Makes Many Americans Question Trusted Health Providers

Thursday, July 31, 2008 General News J E 4
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NEW YORK, July 30 Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults (or85.6 million people) say they have doubted a medical professional's opinion ordiagnosis because it conflicted with information they found online. However,despite the growing power of the Internet, the majority of Americans stillview health providers as their most trusted source of medical information.

In contrast, Hispanics were significantly less likely to trust healthcareproviders first, choosing to speak to family, friends and significant othersmore than other races.

This research, commissioned by healthcare marketing communicationsconsultancy Envision Solutions, represents the first in a series of studiesexamining how Americans are using various interactive technologies, includingthe Internet, for health. To download a summary of the survey results, pleasego to www.envisionsolutionsnow.com/healthtrust.html .

Additional Study Highlights

-- Young Most Likely To Be Skeptical Of Medical Advice: Over four in ten(43%) Americans ages 18 to 34 said they doubted their health provider's advicewhen it conflicted with online sources.

-- Hispanics Least Likely To Rely On Traditional Authority Figures: Only34% of Hispanics said they would consult their primary health provider firstif they were diagnosed with a medical condition versus 62% of whites and 61%of African-Americans.

-- Once Trusted Institutions Receive Low Marks: Overall, very fewAmericans listed institutions such as government, the media and non-profits ashighly credible health information sources.

-- Besides The Young, Most Do Not View Patient-Generated Content AsCredible: Despite its increasing popularity, only 3% of Americans seekingadvice about how to manage a serious medical condition would view patientdeveloped online health information as trustworthy. The same amount (3%) feelthis way about mild medical problems. However, 9% of 18-24 year olds arehappy to rely on this type of content for guidance on mild health conditions.

-- While Trust In Internet Resources Lags, Provider-Generated OnlineContent May Be Different: Previous research indicates that trust in Internetresources is not widespread.(1) However, this study suggests credibility maybe influenced by who is authoring the content. Thirteen percent of Americanssay they would consult medical professional-developed information posted onblogs, online forums or other Websites first if they believed they had ahealth condition or disease.

Implications

This study reveals that most adult Americans instinctually trust healthproviders. However, increasingly, they are using online information tocritically evaluate medical advice. It also suggests that trust in governmentand non-profits has significantly eroded. Finally, health communicators andmarketers should resist overestimating the impact of patient-generated onlinecontent on medical decision-making.

About This Research

Kelton Research, a leading polling firm, conducted a nationallyrepresentative online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults (18+) on behalf of EnvisionSolutions from July 17 - 21, 2008. This study has a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points.

About Envision Solutions

Envision Solutions, LLC is a full-service healthcare marketingcommunications consulting firm. Our core competencies are in the areas ofanalysis, strategic and tactical recommendation development, training andcontent development. Please visit www.envisionsolutionsnow.com for moreinformation about the firm.

(1)iCrossing, "How America Searches: Health and Wellness", January 2008

SOURCE Envision Solutions, LLC
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