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Few Consumers Check Source of Online Health Information

Pew Internet yesterday released a report that showed (a) most Internet users start at a search engine (not a content site, like WebMD) when looking for health information online; and (b) very few check the source and the date of the information they fine.

Just 15 percent of those surveyed said they always checked the source and date of the health information online, while another 10 percent said they did so most of the time. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they checked the source and date sometimes, hardly ever, or never, Pew said.

Neither finding is that surprising.

Most people start an Internet search for everything and anything via a search engine. There’s no reason to believe that most consumers would do any differently for health information. This is the main reason why Google’s stock is trading at $473.18 today.

Most people also say they are interested in things like privacy and source attribution and timeliness of information, but their actual actions betray the truth. Few people (apparently, about 25%) spend the time to actually check that certain information on an article is present (such as the author or date on an article they’re reading).

You can Download the PDF of the report or read Reuters’ take on the report at The Boston Globe.

Few Consumers Check Source of Online Health Information

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.


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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2016). Few Consumers Check Source of Online Health Information. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/few-consumers-check-source-of-online-health-information/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jun 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jun 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.