1/3 Of Consumers Seek Health Advice On Facebook

By Jennifer Moire 

While 80 percent of health-care organizations have social media initiatives, about one third of consumers turn to Facebook for health information.

That’s based on a survey of 1,060 adults and 124 medical industry executives conducted this February by the Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The proportion of consumers who consult Facebook for health advice has clearly risen over the past year, as a similar study a year ago had pegged this habit at one fifth of adults — in contrast to one third in this newest survey.

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers study, two fifths of consumers have used social media to find consumer reviews of health care treatments or physicians. One in four have posted about their health experience and one in five have joined a health forum online.

Additional findings from the report follow:

  • 45 percent of consumers said social media would affect their decision to get a second opinion;
  • 34 percent said social media would affect their decision about taking a certain medication;
  • 72 percent of consumers said they would appreciate assistance in scheduling doctor appointments through social media channels,
  • Nearly half said they would expect a response within a few hours to an appointment scheduling request posted via social media.
  • More than 80 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were likely to share health information through Facebook and other social channels.
  • Nearly 90 percent of people between age 18 and 24 said they would trust health information found on the social network.
  • 45 percent of individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 said they were likely to share health information via social media.

Facebook makes it easier for people to ask their friends for health advice, and to meet people who’ve experienced similar medical conditions.

Right now there’s no official Facebook-run page on the social network dedicated to the topic of health — at least none that we could find by searching just now — like the way there is for other popular topics such as politics and education. Maybe it’s time to launch one, if the site’s rules allow it.

Do you trust health information posted on Facebook?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.