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Online information could lead to second-guessing doctors


NEW YORK A new survey by Kelton Research revealed that 85.6 million U.S. adults have doubted the opinion of their doctors or other medical professionals when it conflicts with information found online.

However, the survey also showed that a majority of Americans still view health providers as their most trusted source of medical information.

Additional key findings of the study include:

  • Besides the young, most do not view patient-generated content as credible. Despite its increasing popularity, only 3 percent of Americans seeking advice about how to manage a serious medical condition would view patient developed online health information as trustworthy. The same amount (3 percent) feel this way about mild medical problems. However, 9 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are happy to rely on this type of content for guidance on mild health conditions.
  • While trust in Internet resources lags, provider-generated online content may be different. Previous research indicates that trust in Internet resources is not widespread. However, this study suggests credibility may be influenced by who is authoring the content. Thirteen percent of Americans say they would consult medical professional-developed information posted on blogs, online forums or other Web sites first if they believe they have a health condition or disease.

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