Americans turn to the Web for health data

A recent poll shows that more and more Americans are turning to the Internet for information about health and health issues.  In fact, according to the 2007 Consumer Medical and Health Information poll, nearly as many Americans list the Web as their primary source of medical information as do their doctor.
The 2007 Consumer Medical and Health Information poll, commissioned by search engine Ask.com and performed by Harris Interactive Inc., revealed that 70% of adults use the Internet as a primary source for health information and that 72% describe their doctor as a primary source.

The study also found that 76% of adults older than 55 -- a group sometimes stereotyped as eschewing the Web -- use the Internet to help diagnose and better understand medical conditions.
In conjuction with the results, Ask.com announced a new feature on its site called Health Smart Answers, which is designed to help users find medical information faster.  Now why is it that we think this poll was not totally altruistic?

On the other it, it is obvious that even for our use, the Web is a fast way to find answers about almost any subject - including medical issues.  Besides Ask.com, other companies have an interest in health search results.  It should be noted that in June, Google announced that it was forming an advisory council on health care to help guide the company in delivering better search results.

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