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Survey: Consumers Skeptical About Web Health Info

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NU Online News Service, March 10, 2003, 3:59 p.m. EST – Organizers of the new “consumer-driven” health plans are hoping workers and their families will use Web research to cut claims costs.

But results of a new survey by KRC Research, Washington, show that many of the 1,000 U.S. adults interviewed are still uncomfortable with the quality of the health information they find on the Web.

The researchers who conducted the survey, which was sponsored by CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, found that only 28% of the participants are using the Internet to learn about medical concerns before seeing doctors.

When researchers asked about obstacles to using the Internet for health research, 33% of the participants said they would rather discuss the information with a live person. Seventeen percent said they have a hard time sorting through all the information, and 15% said they aren’t sure about the credibility of the information.

Thirty-one percent of the baby boomers in the sample research conditions over the Internet before seeing doctors, and only 15% worry much about the credibility of the information they find.

But only 22% of the youngest adults in the sample are using the Internet to research health concerns, and 31% worry about the credibility of the information obtained.