Sunday, October 29, 2006

New Pew report: Internet users don't check source of health information

A new Pew report released today, "Online Health Search 2006," outlines results of survey research indicating that surveyed Internet users report that they do not typically check the source or the date of last update for health-related information.

Eighty percent of American internet users, or some 113 million adults, have searched for information on at least one of seventeen health topics. Most internet users start at a general search engine when researching health and medical advice online. Just 15% of health seekers say they “always” check the source and date of the health information they find online, while another 10% say they do so “most of the time.” Fully three-quarters of health seekers say they check the source and date “only sometimes,” “hardly ever,” or “never,” which translates to about 85 million Americans gathering health advice online without consistently examining the quality indicators of the information they find. Most health seekers are pleased about what they find online, but some are frustrated or confused.

The full report and the questionnaire employed by the survey (with data illustrating how the results have changed over the duration of the project) are also available online.

Related: the Reuters story about the report

Update:

MLA has posted a press release responding to the report.

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