The Internet offers almost everything, from news on sports and politics to forums and games. A new study from the Pew Research Center suggests that the Internet may even be useful in improving health outcomes. Make no mistake, the study doesn’t say that Internet access and use makes you healthier, but it does find that Americans with chronic conditions are more likely than regular Internet users to seek out information about their health. Specifically, that means gathering information online about medical issues, consulting online reviews about drugs and other treatments, and reading or watching something online about some else’s personal health experience.
The problem is that people with chronic conditions are less likely to be using the internet in the first place. Only 72% of adults with chronic conditions use the internet, compared to 89% of adults with no chronic conditions. Part of this gap is due to the fact that older Americans are more likely to have a chronic condition and also less likely to use the Internet. Only 53% (and growing) of seniors are online, compared to 85% of all Americans. It seems that the group who could make the best use of internet resources is those least likely to access them. One company’s newsletter suggests that getting Americans with chronic conditions online will help them get facts about their condition, prepare them to discuss data with their doctor, and also look for others who share their conditions.
Here at PharmacyChecker, we know that greater internet access will also help more consumers save money on their medication. We hope that Pew or other research organizations continue to study the effects of the internet and internet access on health, especially toward the goal of helping Americans find affordable healthcare, which has proven to improve health outcomes.
Tagged with: Internet access, Pew Research Center, seniors