The E-health Revolution
The Internet is has evolved as a ubiquitous source of information. The healthcare sector is at the threshold of becoming the biggest consumer of this knowledge revolution.
The array of healthcare information includes in-depth research on medical diagnosis and treatment, expert opinions on specific conditions, access to forums of like-minded users, and advice on treatment and adjustment options.
Healthcare and Information on The E-health Revolution
Information is integral to quality healthcare. The significance of knowledge and information in healthcare can be gauged from the fact that it accounts for about 30% of every patient dollar or about $300B each year.
Above all, the Internet allows electronic capture of information as it is created and subsequent reuse of that information at a negligible cost.
Internet Penetration on The E-health Revolution
The Internet performs multifarious functions when it comes to the healthcare sector. It connects you to computers of medical centers, libraries, government organizations, advocacy groups and other patients.
Healthcare Internet portals allow finding relevant information in a convenient way. At the heart of an internet portal, lays the powerful combination of a search engine and a database.
Facts and Figures on The E-health Revolution
Reports reflect an increase in the number of users looking for healthcare information on the Internet. Here we cite a few studies.
A nationwide Harris Poll reports that in US, almost 110 million adults go online with the objective of looking for healthcare information. A massive 80% of the respondents reported consulting the Internet for the choices related to their healthcare, on average three times per month.
Trends indicate that baby boomers are actually more likely to visit healthcare sites, at a figure of 66% as against a low of 50% for financial information. Besides, for teenagers, gathering health information was found to be much more popular than online games.
A National Survey was conducted to analyze the use of the Internet and E-mail for obtaining health care information. Amongst a sample US population it was reported that more than 40% of respondents regularly used Internet for advice on healthcare. Meanwhile, over one-third of the respondents agreed that using the Internet influenced their decision about healthcare choices.
User Traits on The E-health Revolution
While studies in general report the exponential increase in the number of Internet users looking for healthcare information, other surveys and reports reflect some unique trends in this regard. Here we list a few of them:
- Youngsters (18-12 year olds, 12-17 year olds) are increasingly resorting to Internet, with studies confirming usage by 88% and 87% of both the age groups, respectively.
- 64% of adults having a high school degree go online, while only 40% having a lesser level of education report usage.
- Women tend to be more frequent online visitors for healthcare information at 72% as against men, at 51%.
Causative Factors on The E-health Revolution
Foremost, the size of the Internet population is rising. A U.S. survey conducted in April 2006 reports as many as 73% of respondents to be full-time Internet users, while 42% of households claimed owning Broadband connections as compared to a mere 29% in 2005.
Let’s take a quick bird’s eye view of the main reasons why the Internet is fast emerging as a significant information tool for the healthcare sector:
- The Internet is seen as the ideal way to publish the large body of complex, dynamic and ever-changing information.
- People mostly prefer to investigate their health concerns in the privacy of their homes before deciding whether they actually need professional help. A study by Pew Internet & American Life Project indicated that almost 41% of Americans used the Internet to ascertain whether they need medical help.
- Patients welcome the opportunity to discuss and share with other patients in Internet discussion groups.