Less than half of US consumers watch TV live, and people who have acne and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely than those with other medical conditions to watch streaming or downloaded TV programs online, according to the Cybercitizen Health v8.0 consumer study from Manhattan Research.
Patients with eczema, allergies and bipolar disorder are also more likely than others to watch internet television, the research found.
“Digital video recording, faster broadband speeds, and an increase in rich media content have transformed the way that consumers view their news and entertainment,” said Meredith Abreu Ressi, VP of research at Manhattan Research. “With television networks partnering with video-sharing websites like YouTube and Hulu and DVR adoption increasing, the consumer is in control.”
Health Information Online
The study also found that more than 145 million US adults use the internet to research health information, and the internet has surpassed doctors for online health information health and medical information over the past year. According to the study, this trend represents a change in consumer behavior from previous years, as doctors have traditionally been the top source of health information.
“Though doctors remain an essential part of an individual’s health management, consumers are increasingly comfortable using the internet as a research tool for condition and treatment information,” said Ressi. “As healthcare coverage – and even routine visits to the doctor – becomes less affordable to many Americans, the internet has emerged as a first line of defense for consumers seeking to manage their healthcare independently.”
The number of consumers searching for pharmaceutical information online has increased to 95 million, up 16% from last year, as has the number of US adults who use their cell phones and PDA/smartphones to look up health information on the web, which is estimated at 10 million.
Web 2.0 Gives Way to Health 2.0
A growing number of consumers – especially cancer and fibromyalgia patients – are using social media for health and medical purposes. Many patients and caregivers have become comfortable seeking advice and sharing treatment experiences and connecting with others dealing with similar conditions.
Popular activities include visiting health-related message boards, reading and contributing to health blogs, posting health content online, and using online patient support groups. Also, a growing number of patients are rating prescription drugs and treatments on sites like iGuard.org, DailyStrength.org, and WebMD.
About the survey: The Cybercitizen Health v8.0 consumer study focused on how consumers use media and technology for health information the impact on treatment and product decisions. It was fielded in Q3 2008 among 8,714 US adults (age 18+).