A Search a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Americans Turn to the Internet for Health Information Nearly as Often as They Turn to Doctors
Ask.com Introduces New Health Smart Answers to Help Searchers Get Trusted Health and Medical Content Faster
OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Ask.com(R), a leading search engine and operating business of IAC, today released the findings from a 2007 Consumer Medical and Health Information poll and, in conjunction, introduced new Health Smart Answers to help searchers find the trusted health information they are looking for faster.
Commissioned by Ask.com and conducted by Harris Interactive(R), the study demonstrates that adults(1) now rely on the Internet as a primary source of health-related information nearly as much as they rely on their primary doctors. Seventy percent of adults are now turning to the Internet as one of their primary resources for medical and health information, surpassed only slightly by their personal physician (72 percent). Results also cited the Internet as a far more popular resource for health information than traditional media outlets such as newspapers/magazines (30 percent), television (26 percent) and books (25 percent) — even surpassing friends and family (40 percent) as a source to find the medical information people seek.
Following on this research, Ask.com is introducing new Health Smart Answers that help people find trusted health and medical information faster. Smart Answers are special search results placed at the top of the results page that provide editorially-selected information as well as quick links to authoritative content. The new Health Smart Answers provide quick access to trusted information for a broad range of health-related topics, like diseases, symptoms, treatments and medications. For example, a search for “Breast Cancer” reveals a definition of the disease as well as statistical information on how many women will be diagnosed with the disease in a lifetime. The Health Smart Answer also provides useful links to news, symptoms, treatments and medical encyclopedias. Other examples include “Strep Throat,” “Oxycodone,” and “Blood Pressure.”
Additional findings from the Harris survey include:
* Knowledge is Power: It’s all about being informed. 73 percent of adults
expressed a desire to be more informed about their personal health, as
well as the well-being of friends and family. Even those born well
before the Internet generation (ages 55+) feel the medium has helped
them diagnose and better understand their condition (76 percent).
* That’s What Friends are For: Two-thirds of Americans search to help
them diagnose or better understand a condition (71 percent), and more
than half of adults reporting doing the same for friends and family
members (55 percent).
* For Your Eyes Only: Adults aged 18-34 are still embarrassed when it
comes to sharing personal health information, and 21 percent noted they
turned to the Internet for privacy, stating that they were just too
embarrassed to talk to anyone about their medical or health issues.
* What’s the Alternative: Nearly 30 percent of adults (28 percent)
reported leveraging the Internet to find alternative (e.g.,
homeopathic) treatment options.
“With so many Americans looking for health information online, it is critical that search engines make it easy for people to get reliable and accurate information,” said Doug Leeds, vice president of product management at Ask.com. “Our new Health Smart Answers provide quick access to trusted information searchers are looking for, right at the top of the search results page. While other search engines require people to ‘hunt and peck’ through an ocean of web links, Ask.com makes it easy to find the best information quickly.”
Ask.com selected Healthline Networks, a leading provider of intelligent health information services, and Revolution Health, a leading consumer-centric health company, to provide content — including medical definitions, images, links to reference materials and other data — for the Health Smart Answers.
“Smart Answers give searchers ‘Eureka!’ moments and save time, effort, and aggravation,” said West Shell III, chairman and CEO of Healthline Networks. “Ask.com’s Health Smart Answers with Healthline content empower consumers to effectively find targeted information, advancing them from search, to discovery, to better informed healthcare decisions fast.”
About the Harris Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Ask.com between July 5 and July 9, 2007 among 3,389 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. The data was also weighted to be representative of the online population of U.S. adults on the basis of Internet usage (hours per week) and connection type.
With a pure probability sample of 3,389, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples may be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
A leading search engine on the Web and operating business of IAC, Ask.com combines world-class search technology with one-of-a-kind search tools to help people get what they are looking for faster. Ask.com sites include Ask.com US (www.Ask.com), Ask.com Deutschland, Ask.com Espana, Ask.com France, Ask.com Italia, Ask.com Japan, Ask.com Nederland and Ask.com UK. Additionally, Ask.com syndicates its search technology and advertising units to a network of affiliate partners. Ask.com is a division of IAC Search & Media, a wholly-owned business of IAC. Ask.com b-roll footage is available at www.thenewsmarket.com/ask.
Healthline Networks offers an innovative approach to meeting the needs of today‘s health information seeker. The company’s unique consumer healthcare taxonomy, the largest of its kind, powers a suite of intelligent health search, navigation and content services. Combining advanced search technology with deep medical expertise, Healthline and its business partners-a network of trusted destination sites that include publishers, portals, search engines, employers and health plans-help consumers navigate the complex world of healthcare information, empowering them to make more confident, informed decisions. Headquartered in San Francisco, Healthline is backed by Aetna Ventures, Peacock Equity, JHK Investments LLC, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Reed Elsevier Ventures, U.S. News and World Report, and VantagePoint Venture Partners.
About Revolution Health
Revolution Health Group LLC was created by AOL Co-Founder Steve Case to create products and services that empower people by putting them at the center of the health system. The cornerstone of the company is RevolutionHealth.com, a free consumer health and medical web site that marries expert content and online tools with the power of social networking. Revolution Health also offers premium services that enable companies to provide health content and customized online tools to their employees, an insurance marketplace and CarePages, the leading service that enables communication among family and friends when someone is receiving care. For more information go to RevolutionHealth.com.
(1) The term “adults” refers to the data that were weighted to be
representative of the online population of U.S. adults on the basis of
Internet usage (hours per week) and connection type in addition to
standard demographic weighing.