4-Country Survey Finds Most Cyberchondriacs Believe Online Health Care Information is Trustworthy, Easy to Find and Understand
Large Numbers in Germany, France, Japan and the U.S.A. Report Several Ways
That the Internet has Influenced Their Behavior
ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Most adults in all four countries who participated in a recent Harris Interactive(SM) survey of "cyberchondriacs" (people who use the Internet for health purposes) find online health care information to be trustworthy, of good quality, easy to understand and easy to find. In some cases, these majorities are very large. Fully, 93% of cyberchondriacs in the United States (U.S.A.) and France find online health information to be trustworthy. Large majorities of American cyberchondriacs think it is easy to understand (85%) and is of good quality (82%). The French and Germans also give Internet-based health information very positive marks. Japanese cyberchondriacs are a little more skeptical, but fully, 56% of them find it easy to understand, 59% believe it is of good quality, and 80% think it is trustworthy. To view the complete tables and graphs for this survey, go to http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_healthcare.asp for a downloadable pdf file of issue 12 of the Harris Interactive Health Care News newsletter. General impact of the Internet on patients Approximately half of all cyberchondriacs in France (49%) and Germany (50%) believe that the Internet has had a major impact in their understanding of their health problems. Approximately a third of those in the U.S.A. (34%) and Japan (30%) believe this. Substantial minorities report that online health information has had a major impact on: * Discussions they have with their doctors (from 33% in Germany to 17% in Japan); * How well they manage their health (from 24% in Germany and Japan to 16% in the U.S.A.); * How they comply with their treatments (from 19% in Germany to 13% in Japan). American cyberchondriacs seem to be more influenced than those in the other three countries by things they see on the Internet. Impact of the Internet on patient behavior Americans are the most likely to have discussed information from the Internet with their doctors (38%), to have taken over-the-counter medication (23%), to have asked a doctor for a specific prescription drug (14%), to have made a doctor's appointment (14%) or to have started an alternative treatment (9%) -- as a direct result of something they saw on the Internet. Likely future impact on doctor-patient relationships There are those who worry that as the public increasingly uses and gets more information from the Internet, the doctor-patient relationship will erode. While this is possible, very few people -- in all four countries -- expect this to happen. Only in Japan (10%) is this anticipated by more than one cyberchondriac in twenty. Most people, between 51% in Japan and 68% in Germany, think the Internet will not change their relationships with their doctors. Large minorities, from 29% in Germany to 44% in France think their use of the Internet will actually improve their relationships. If they are right, the Internet will bring more patients and doctors closer together than will drive them apart. "Cyberchondriacs" -- is it a pejorative? Since we first began using the word "cyberchondriacs," we have been asked if it is a pejorative, which implies that they are obsessive or unusual. It is not. The word "chondria," literally meaning stomach, was used in classical Greek to mean "concern about health." The English word hypochondria means excessive (hypo) concern about health. Cyberchondria means, therefore, "online concern about health" and implies no criticism. Methodology Harris Interactive release part three of this four-nation study in the next issue of Health Care News. The study is mainly based on research conducted online in January 2002 with 309 cyberchondriacs in the United States, 327 in France, 407 in Germany and 275 in Japan. About Harris Interactive(SM) Harris Interactive (http://www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R) and its pioneering use of the Internet to conduct scientifically accurate market research. We combine the power of unique methodologies and technology with international expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. Headquartered in Rochester, NY, with offices across the United States, in the United Kingdom, in Japan and a global network of local market and opinion research firms, the Company conducts international research with fluency in multiple languages. EOE M/F/D/V To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to participate in future online surveys, visit http://www.harrispollonline.com. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X07235978
SOURCE Harris Interactive
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