Today’s health care consumers — baby boomers in particular — are hungry for reliable health content, and more than ever they are using the web to educate themselves. The Pew Research Center reports that nearly 80 percent of internet users go online for answers to health questions.
Perhaps more surprising is the rising role social media plays in consumer health education. According to PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI), 42 percent of consumers have used social media to access health-related consumer reviews (e.g., specific treatment therapies or physician reviews), and 20 percent have joined a health forum or community. Younger consumers in particular tend to trust social media as a credible source of information — 90 percent of individuals age 18 to 24 would engage in health activities or trust health information found via social media.
Consumers also are demanding tools to help them take charge of their own health care decisions. Currently, more than 40,000 health-related apps are marketed to consumers — covering everything from diet counters to smartphone-enabled blood-pressure monitors and glucometers.Continue Reading