Earlier this month, Pew released its latest report on what Americans look for online when they are searching for health information. Particularly exciting this time around: their survey included several new topic areas pertaining to geriatrics and palliative care.
In particular, Pew found that:
- 17% of internet users look online for information about memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.
- 14% of internet users look online for information about how to manage chronic pain.
- 12% of internet users look online for information about long-term care for an elderly or disabled person.
- 7% of internet users look online for information about end-of-life decisions.
Pew also surveyed respondents as to whether or not they were caregivers, and found that “Caregivers distinguish themselves in this study as people focused on health information. They outpace other internet users when it comes to researching every single health topic included in the survey, often by double-digit margins.”
As some of you know, I’m very interested in how the Internet might be used to provide the public with improved access to geriatrics and palliative care expertise. (I’m currently working part-time on creating geriatrics content for Caring.com, an informational website designed for adults caring for aging parents.)
Although I suspect many online information-seekers may not know the terms “geriatrics” or “palliative care,” clearly many of them are looking for help from people like us. Exciting! I sincerely hope Pew will continue to collect data on these very important topics. (They say they will release a report on caregivers later this spring.)
Now if only we could figure out an effective way of conveying our skills and expertise through the Internet…
by: Leslie Kernisan