81% of U.S. adults use the internet and 59% say they have looked online for health information in the past year. 35% of U.S. adults say they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have.
Online resources join the stream of information flowing in from people’s interactions with clinicians, family, and fellow patients. When respondents were asked about the last time they had a serious health issue and to whom they turned for help, either online or offline:
- – 70% of U.S. adults got information, care, or support from a doctor or other health care professional.
- – 60% got information or support from friends and family.
- – 24% got information or support from others who have the same health condition.
When asked if the information found online led them to think they needed the attention of a medical professional, 46% of online diagnosers say that was the case. Thirty-eight percent of online diagnosers say it was something they could take care of at home and 11% say it was both or in-between.
- 41% of online diagnosers say a medical professional confirmed their diagnosis. An additional 2% say a medical professional partially confirmed it.
- 35% say they did not visit a clinician to get a professional opinion.
- 18% say they consulted a medical professional and the clinician either did not agree or offered a different opinion about the condition.
- 1% say their conversation with a clinician was inconclusive.