Thursday, June 11, 2009

Looking for Health Information Online

Link to Pew Internet & American Life Project report, "The Social Life of Health Information".

Pew calls them "e-patients", people who look for health information online. And their numbers are growing. For librarians, it's one of those bear/Pope observations.

Excerpt: When asked, "Now thinking about all the sources you turn to when you need information or assistance in dealing with health or medical issues, please tell me if you use any of the following sources..."
  • 86% of all adults ask a health professional, such as a doctor.
  • 68% of all adults ask a friend or family member.
  • 57% of all adults use the internet.
  • 54% use books or other printed reference material.
  • 33% contact their insurance provider.
  • 5% use another source not mentioned in the list.
The 54% figure indicates that book collection development in the subject areas of health and medicine is still a top priority for public libraries. Books in the 610s at the Middleton always generated the largest circulation total of any Dewey cluster. Wouldn't be surprised if they still did.

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