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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Surprising Decline in Consumers Seeking Health Information

Figure 1

Surprising Decline in Consumers Seeking Health Information

Tracking Report No. 26
November 2011
Ha T. Tu

In 2010, 50 percent of American adults sought information about a personal health concern, down from 56 percent in 2007, according to a new national study from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). The likelihood of people seeking information from the Internet and from friends and relatives changed little between 2007 and 2010, but their use of hardcopy books, magazines and newspapers dropped by nearly half to 18 percent. While the reduced tendency to seek health information applied to consumers across nearly all demographic categories, it was most pronounced for older Americans, people with chronic conditions and people with lower-education levels. Across all individual characteristics, education level remained the factor most strongly associated with consumers’ inclination to seek health information. Consumers who actively researched health concerns widely reported positive impacts: About three in five said the information affected their overall approach to maintaining their health, and a similar proportion said the information helped them to better understand how to treat an illness or condition.

November 30, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , ,

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