Earlier this month the Pew Internet and American Life Project released its latest report on what Americans look for online when they are searching for health information. The report includes insightful details regarding internet searches for aging-related health issues. The excellent blog GeriPal compiled a rundown of geriatric and palliative care searches:
- 17% of internet users look online for information about memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.
- 14% of internet users look online for information about how to manage chronic pain.
- 12% of internet users look online for information about long-term care for an elderly or disabled person.
- 7% of internet users look online for information about end-of-life decisions.
Pew also surveyed respondents as to whether or not they were caregivers, and found that “Caregivers distinguish themselves in this study as people focused on health information. They outpace other internet users when it comes to researching every single health topic included in the survey, often by double-digit margins.”
The internet has provided unprecedented access to health information that is dramatically reshaping our relationships with our health care providers. Knowledge is power, and an empowered patient is better able to advocate for his or herself. This is key to advancing patient-centered care.
Thanks to report author Susannah Fox, an expert at Pew who studies the intersection of technology and health. She’s a must-follow on Twitter @SusannahFox.