Seniors Turning to Internet for Health Help

More older adults are seeking health information online, survey says

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THURSDAY, Feb. 27, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A growing number of older adults are going online to find medical information, says a study in the February issue of Chest.

Researchers at the Iowa College of Medicine found that people with lung cancer are increasingly using the Internet as a major resource for getting information about their disease.

The study also found that many people tend to overrate the quality of medical information they find on the Internet.

The researchers examined three months of Internet use by 139 people with lung cancer. Of that group, 16 percent reported using the Internet to learn more about their disease. That made the Internet the most common non-physician source of medical information used by the people in the study.

Previous studies indicate that 10 percent to 25 percent of the general patient population uses the Internet to get health information and the Internet is the least-utilized health information resource.

When asked to rate the health information they found on the Internet, the patients in this study rated it equal to information they received from their doctors.

Previous research indicates the majority of patient information and continuing medical education Internet sites fail to provide quality information for users.

More information

Here's some advice on how to evaluate health information on the Internet.

SOURCE: American College of Chest Physicians, news release, February 2003

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