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The Internet’s Role In Health Care

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In the last decade the Internet has had a positive impact on the way people manage their health and has helped to make them healthier. One common complaint among people is that doctors have been slow to adopt e-Health and are not offering the online health services they want.

One in three American report that the Internet “has changed the way I go about managing and maintaining my health”, according to an Illuminas study commissioned by Cisco. The study found that 62 percent reported they have used online health tools and over half say their health has benefited due to personal technology.

One in four Americans said that they were healthier today because of the Internet. The Internet has increasingly become the main source for health information and advice. When asked what sources they were likely to consult for health information 62 percent their personal physician. Still, 44 percent said medical Web sites and 32 percent preferred online search. The Internet accounted for three of the top five sources of health information.

Although many Americans rely on the Internet to manage their health, they feel that the majority of doctors have been slower when it comes to adapting to the technology. Sixty-two percent said their doctor does not offer Internet based tools such as the ability to directly email them, make an appointment or check a site with information about the practice or doctors credentials. Only 27 percent said that medical providers have fully adopted the Internet to deliver health information and services.

"This survey clearly shows the Internet has become an integral tool for many to manage and improve their health, but it’s also obvious that we have a way to go to maximize the use of Internet tools to provide better care," said Dr. Jeffrey Rideout MD, Cisco’s vice president of healthcare, Internet Business Solutions Group and chief medical director.
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