Most U.S. Residents Want Online Access to Health Information

June 26, 2015 in News

More than half of U.S. residents want to access health information via their doctors’ websites, but few currently do so, according to a survey published Wednesday in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Tech Times reports (Alfano, Tech Times, 6/25).

Survey Details

For the survey, researchers received responses from more than 2,000 CVS pharmacy customers nationwide with at least one chronic condition in the household. The survey polled customers on their use of email and Facebook to communicate with their physicians and their interest in other Web-based health tools.

Survey Findings

The researchers found that about 57% of survey respondents said they wanted to be able to use their physicians’ sites to access medical information, but only 7% reported currently doing so.

In addition, the survey found 46% of respondents were interested in using Web-based tools for prescriptions, but just 7% reported currently doing so (Lee, Journal of General Internal Medicine, 6/24).

Meanwhile, the survey found within the past six months:

  • More than one third of respondents reported contacting their doctor via email; and
  • 18% of respondents reported contacting their doctor via Facebook (Tech Times, 6/25). 

The survey also showed patients were more likely to communicate with their doctors online if they:

  • Cared for others;
  • Had chronic health conditions (Survey release, 6/24);
  • Reported a higher income;
  • Were Non-white; and
  • Were Younger than 45 years old.

In addition, the survey found college graduates were the most likely to use Facebook to communicate with a doctor (Tech Times, 6/25).

Study author Joy Lee of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a statement said, “The findings highlight the gap between patient interest for online communication and what physicians may currently provide.” She added, “Improving and accelerating the adoption of secure Web-messaging systems is a possible solution that addresses both institutional concerns and patient demand” (Survey release, 6/24).

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