Internet Access Vital For Those With Chronic Disease

Adults with chronic diseases tap online health resources

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Technology]

Only 62 percent of adults living with chronic disease go online, compared with 81 percent of adults with no chronic diseases, according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

"We can now add chronic disease to the list of attributes which have an independent, negative effect on someone’s likelihood to have Internet access, along with age, education, and income level," says Kristen Purcell, an associate director of the Pew Internet Project and a co-author of the report.

The Internet access gap creates an online health information gap. More than any other group, people living with chronic disease are strongly connected to offline sources of medical information and assistance such as health professionals, friends, family, and books. Once they have Internet access, people living with chronic disease report significant benefits from the health resources found online.


Overall, 51 percent of American adults living with chronic disease have looked online for health information about a specific disease, a certain medical procedure, or health insurance. By comparison, 66 percent of adults who have no chronic conditions use the Internet to gather health information.

Lack of Internet access, not lack of interest in the topic, is the main reason for the gaps. Pew says when demographic factors are controlled, Internet users living with chronic disease are slightly more likely than other Internet users to access health information online.

"The deck is stacked against people living with chronic disease. They are disproportionately offline. They often have complicated health issues, not easily solved by the addition of even the best, most reliable, medical advice," says Susannah Fox, an associate director of the Pew Internet Project and a co-author of the report.

"But those who are online have a trump card. They have each other. Those who have access use the internet like a secret weapon, unearthing and sharing nuggets of information found online."


Internet Access Vital For Those With Chronic Disease
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://healthtrawl.com Health Trawl

    I am sure the figure would be much lower for countries where penetration of the net is less. Internet can surely help us spread information and even take precautionary measures as illustrated by google dot org’s flu warning system. There is much scope for improvement. I have been looking around for free medical journals but unfortunately one has to pay for most of the information.

  • http://www.hormonesolutions.com.au Guest

    At the latest CMI Conference on eMarketing in the Pharma Industry it was revealed that:

    Active Newly Diagnosed patients represent 5% of the overall health seeker population, but 40% of the overall health-related web traffic.

    Chronically ill patients represent 35% of the overall seeker population, but 50% of the health seeking traffic.

    Online Health Info Seekers
    Healthy 60%
    Newly Diagnosed 5%
    Chronically Ill 35%

    Online Health Activity
    Healthy 10%
    Newly Diagnosed 40%
    Chronically Ill 50%

    Ref: Siren Interactive Whitepaper, Maximizing the Potential of Search Engine Marketing for Niche and Speciality Pharmaceutical Brands.


  • http://www.bananadoodles.com/ SteelyDanFan

    In the early 1980’s when the “Internet” was still a collection of University research geeks linked together I had a friend in his late teens who came down with Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). I remember some discussion about this “network” of computers that could announce the latest findings in cancer research. His doctors and his family were elated to learn this because prior to the internet’s adoption by the masses one had to cull through the Readers Guide to Periodic Literature at the library, which, if any readers here are old enough to recall, was a giant index of articles published in magazines. The Readers Guide to Periodic Literature itself was only published once a year as I recall. This means the article that could save his life may have been written that week, but it would not be widely known or available until one manually searched the guides a year after its publication. I am happy to report he survived the brutal rounds of chemotherapy and the painful removal of 60% of his lymph nodes.

    One does not have to think too long and hard about some potential causes of low adoption by people with chronic illnesses. First they are very sick and are probably spending all their available resources on medical care and can’t spare the resources for high speed internet access or much of anything else for that matter. Second, many are probably so sick they don’t feel up to sitting at a computer and blogging all day. They may literally be sick in bed when they are not either at the doctor or trying to hold down their job – if they still have one.

  • http://www.cancerbytheday.com Sue Ennis

    Journey is outlined at www.cancerbytheday.com for those that know Sue Ennis or to help others recently diagnosed and for caregivers.

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom