Saturday, May 28, 2005

Using the Web to find the right doctor

The Wall Street Journal reports that increasingly, Americans are using the Web to find the right doctor or research the quality of care at their local hospitals: last year 42% of Internet users with a college degree reported that they have looked for information about a particular doctor or hospital, a sharp increase from just 27% who sought such information in 2002, according to a survey from the nonprofit Pew Internet and American Life Project.

The survey, part of a Pew Research Center initiative that studies the impact of the Internet on families, communities and other elements of daily life, paints an encouraging picture of ever-savvier health-care consumers, who are researching doctors, paying attention to warnings about obesity and poor nutrition, considering entering clinical trials in greater numbers, and taking steps to better manage their health-care costs. Since the survey was first released in 2002, the fastest-growing topics of interest for online health searches include these key subjects: information on doctors and hospitals; diet and nutrition, and vitamins; experimental treatments; health-insurance coverage; and prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The survey is available at

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