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Cybercitizen 2011, American Consumers Managing their Healthcare Online

A study released last month  from Manhattan Research, “Cybercitizen Health ® U.S. 2001,”  which explores digital health trends among U.S. consumers, reaffirms that American consumers are managing their personal health using a variety of online health resources. The study is based on a randomized poll, conducted on the telephone and online, of 8,745 adults age 18 and over. Findings reveal that millions of consumers of all ages are now using the Internet to research health and medical information, many as their first option for health information, even before talking with their physicians. 

 Important to note in the findings is the marked increase in the number of individuals using wireless devices to access health information. This year Cybercitizen health ® U.S. 2011 revealed that 26 percent of U.S. adults use their mobile phones for health information and health aids. This compares with 12% in 2010 and 9% in 2009, and indicates that wireless devices are a major tool for finding and using health resources. As more mobile health solutions are developed to help people, not only access information, but manage and monitor health issues, these numbers will markedly increase.  For example, the study revealed that 8% of consumers used prescription drug refill or reminder services on their mobile phones in 2011, up from 3% in 2010.

Cybercitizen Health® U.S. 2011 also found that 56 million consumers accessed their medical information on an electronic health record maintained by their physician and 41 million expressed interest in doing so in the future. There are still a large number of people who are ambivalent toward electronic health records – 140 million consumers, according to this study, have not used and are not interested in accessing medical information on an electronic record.  However,  the growing numbers of people who are now interested in this access to their electronic record, along with an increased interest and usage among physicians, indicates a sea change in care delivery and patient engagement. Reinforcing the cyber health movement is the fact that increasing numbers of caregivers are using online health information and tools as well.

This significant and comprehensive annual study by Manhattan Research demonstrates the importance of online technology and wireless devices in helping American healthcare consumers become empowered and engaged in their health care and more personally involved in the day to day tasks that will keep them healthy.

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