Nearly 60% of U.S. adults look for health information online, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in Washington. And one-quarter of U.S. adults have read someone else’s writing about their medical issues in a blog or on a website.
More than 95 million Americans visited websites related to health, fitness and nutrition in June, according to Nielsen. That’s more than two out of five people who were active online that month. WebMD Health Network led the way with 24.6 million unique U.S. users, followed by Everyday Health, Yahoo! Health sites, Livestrong.com and About.com Health, Nielsen found.
Here are six questions to ask yourself when searching for online health information:
1. Are you going to multiple sites and not just stopping at one commercial site, such as the drug manufacturer’s website, for your information?
2. Do you winnow your printed material down to a manageable load before you present it to your doctor?
3. Are you working with a doctor or clinical team that’s open to discussing what you find online?
4. Have you browsed the websites of national nonprofit organizations dedicated to your condition?
5. Have you overlooked patients’ experience close to home in favor of online groups?
6. Are you using the buddy system?
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