Checking the scores after the game, watching the latest viral YouTube video, booking a family vacation…people surf the web for any number of reasons. But 80% of searches are for health information, according to data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, in partnership with the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF). Ahead of that pursuit, checking email and using a search engine fill the top two slots.
When it comes to specifics, most users are looking for information on a certain disease/medical problem (66%) or a particular medical treatment/procedure (56%). Searching for doctors/health professionals came in next at 44%; where to find hospitals/other medical facilities at 36%, and details on health insurance (including Medicare/Medicaid) ranked at 33%.
In terms of aging-related health and senior care resources, the survey indicated that 17% of web users want to learn more about memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s, and 12% are seeking options and information regarding long-term care for seniors. Though it ranked near the bottom of the list, end-of-life decisions comprised 7% of searches.
And just who is making these searches? Researchers found the following as primary information-seekers: caregivers, women, young adults, and college-educated adults. Older adults were among those least likely to search for health information via the World Wide Web.