Number of Americans who go online for healthcare information hits record high

The number of "cyberchondriacs"--people who use the Internet to look up health-related topics--has more than tripled (50 million vs. 175 million) since 1998 and 2010, according to a new Harris Poll.

The telephone survey polled 1,066 American adults between July 13 and July 18, and found that 32 percent of all adults who are online look up health information "often," as compared to 22 percent last year.

While the percentage of adults who are online has remained at about 79 percent for the past several years, the poll indicated that in 2010, the proportion of those online users who turned to the Internet for health information reached a record high of 88 percent.

The Internet has given patients easy and unlimited access to health information, and the poll showed that cyberchondriacs are happy with what they find online. Only 9 percent said they were somewhat or very unsuccessful at finding the information they needed, and only 8 percent considered the online health information unreliable.

"These findings show that, with every passing year, more and more people are using the Internet to look for health information and that the overwhelming majority of these cyberchondriacs are finding what they want online," according to the Harris Poll.

For more:
- read the Harris Poll press release