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.
This report also updates the Pew Internet Project's trends related to the social life of health information and peer-to-peer health care.
About the Survey
The results reported here come from a nationwide survey of 3,014 adults living in the United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (1,808) and cell phone (1,206, including 624 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Interviews were done in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from August 7 to September 6, 2012. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±2.4 percentage points.