Americans Looking for Health Information Online Are Exposed to and Use User-Generated Media on a Regular Basis

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Some may trust Internet content because they are relying on sources they view as credible.

Research released this week by Envision Solutions, LLC, a healthcare marketing communications consultancy, provides new information about why Americans trust health content they find online. Internet health seekers are exposed to a significant amount of user-generated media (i.e., blogs, wikis and online bulletin boards) and frequent Websites developed by government, non-profits and corporations. This indicates that some may not vet information they find online because they are relying on sources they view as credible. Envision Solutions conducted this study using data provided by Hitwise the leading online competitive intelligence service.

This research was inspired by a Pew Internet & American Life Project report indicating that "three-quarters of Internet users who look online for health advice do not consistently check the source and date of content they find." Following are some of the key findings of Envision Solutions' study, "Diving Deeper Into Online Health Search":

  • Internet users' exposure to health-related user-generated media is significant: Out of 16 queries Envision Solutions conducted on Yahoo and Google (using popular health/medical keywords), UGM appeared on the first three pages of searches 88% of the time.
  • Online health searchers are relying on government, corporate and non-profit produced Websites for information: For example, 32% of those who typed "diabetes" into major search engines went to the American Diabetes Association's Website http://www.diabetes.org.
  • In certain cases, wikis and blogs are receiving significant traffic: Five percent of those searching online for information about the antidepressant Lexapro between mid-December 2006 and mid-January 2007 went to CrazyMeds.org. This is a popular blog that provides information about the safety and efficacy of psychiatric medications.

This research was conducted between December 2006 and January 2007.

To download a free copy of the study report, please go to http://www.envisionsolutionsnow.com/healthsearch.html.

About Envision Solutions

Envision Solutions, LLC is a full-service healthcare marketing communications consulting firm. The company provides innovative products and services to not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Envision Solutions' core competencies are in the areas of analysis, strategic and tactical recommendation development, training and content development. Please visit http://www.envisionsolutionsnow.com for more information about the firm.

About Hitwise

Hitwise is the leading online competitive intelligence service. Only Hitwise provides its 1,200 global clients with daily insights on how their customers interact with a broad range of competitive Websites, and how their competitors use different tactics to attract online customers.

Since 1997, Hitwise has pioneered a unique, network-based approach to Internet measurement. Through relationships with ISPs around the world, Hitwise's patented methodology captures the anonymous online usage, search, and conversion behavior of 25 million Internet users. This unprecedented volume of Internet usage data is seamlessly integrated into our easy to use, web-based service, designed to help marketers better plan, implement, and report on a range of online marketing programs.

Hitwise is a privately held company headquartered in New York City and operates in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. More information about Hitwise is available at http://www.hitwise.com.

For up to date analysis of online trends and statistics, please visit the Hitwise Intelligence Analyst Weblogs at http://weblogs.hitwise.com and the Hitwise Data Center at http://www.hitwise.com/datacenter.

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