Among the most intriguing findings in the report, entitled 2011 US and Global Survey of Health Care Consumers, is that fewer people are looking online for treatment options (43 percent, compared with 55 percent in 2010 and 57 percent in 2009), even as a growing number seek information about quality (28 percent, vs. 24 percent in 2010) and costs of services (19 percent, up from 12 percent in 2010). These findings suggest that patients are becoming savvier about how they use the internet for health-related research.
Also noteworthy: Use of the internet for health-related purposes varies among generations. For example:
The middle generations are most likely to search for treatment information.
- Generation X (45 percent)
- Boomers (44 percent)
- Generation Y (39 percent)
- Seniors (38 percent)
The youngest generations are most active in searching for provider quality and cost information.
- Generation Y (34 percent for quality information and 30 percent for cost information)
- Generation X (33 percent and 24 percent)
- Boomers (24 percent and 13 percent)
- Seniors (19 percent and 5 percent)
As for social media use:
- One in 10 (11 percent) used a social networking site to: comment on their experiences using the health care system (6 percent), learn more about prescription drugs (5 percent), communicate with their insurance company (2 percent) and/or communicate with their physician (2 percent).
- A small number (8 percent) used a blog in the past year to share their experiences with others or learn about others’ health care experiences (5 percent), post a comment about a doctor (3 percent) or post a comment about a hospital (2 percent).
“Findings from this year’s study of consumers in the US and 11 other countries identify three global trends that suggest health care leaders should think of patients as consumers: clinical innovations are driving solutions to medical problems that enable consumers to take care of themselves; governments and employers face shrinking budgets even as health care costs are soaring; and consumers are paying attention to health care as never before,” concluded Paul Keckley, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.