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Web Health Shopping Still Rare

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U.S. residents are far more likely to use the Internet to compare cars or computers than to compare doctors and hospitals.[@@]

Executives at UICI, North Richland Hills, Texas, a company that is setting up a health savings account program, have published figures supporting that conclusion in a report on a recent telephone survey of 1,016 U.S. adults.

Survey workers asked participants how they have used Web research tools to support purchasing and provider selection decisions made in the past 5 years.

Although 56% of the car buyers and 44% of the computer buyers used the Web for research, only 22% of the consumers who chose new doctors followed that route, and only 12% of hospital patients used the Web to compare hospitals.

Only 36% of participants who have used the Internet said they were aware that they could find information about the price and quality of doctors online, UICI says.