Google Second Only to Doctors as Source of Health Information

May 17, 2010 — A national survey finds Americans rely highly on Google searches as a source of health care information. The survey, conducted in April 2010 by Capstrat and Public Policy Polling, finds 22 percent of respondents consider Google searches “influential” in seeking health information. The search engine ranked second only to doctors (44 percent) in reported influence and was named more than twice as often as nurses, pharmacists, advocacy groups and friends or family members.

After asking where people turn to for health information, the poll asked which sources they trust. Health advocacy groups emerged as a particularly trusted source of online health information: 71 percent judged Web content of such groups “somewhat reliable” or “extremely reliable,”considerably higher than the 59 percent who felt that way about organic Google searches.

Online communities aren’t yet a major influencer in health care. Only 12 percent of respondents used online forums in their last search for health information, and only 37 percent considered forums “somewhat reliable” or “extremely reliable.” Of those who did look to online communities, the number one reason was their around-the-clock availability.

View the full press release here. View the complete survey results at: http://o.capstr.at/x.

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