NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

E-Health Consumers Less Satisfied

December 29, 2000

More than 100 million consumers sought health information on the Internet over the past year, up from 70 million in 1999, according to pollster Harris Interactive. At the same time, consumer satisfaction with health sites actually fell.

There is a gap between the services offered and consumer demands.

  • Only 56 percent of poll respondents said the Internet helped them understand their health problems, compared with 73 percent in 1999.
  • Only 41 percent said the Internet helped them manage their health care, compared with 60 percent last year.
  • And only 29 percent said the Web helped them communicate with their doctor, down from 51 percent.

A majority of e-health consumers (58 percent) weren't confident in the sites' ability to protect their privacy.

Consumers want better data and more direct interaction with health-care providers -- including the ability to communicate with doctors online. More than 80 percent said they wanted e-mail reminders for preventive care based on their medical history and follow-up e-mails after office visits.

  • The good news is almost a third of the 750 doctors surveyed now have a website for their practice, up from just 19 percent last year.
  • And they are referring their patients to the Web more often, preferring academic and research institutions and government sites over commercial sites.
  • However, only 35 percent of doctors said they were confident of the data on health-related Internet sites.

Source: Laura Landro, "More People Are Using Internet Health Sites, But Fewer Are Satisfied," Health Journal, Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2000.

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