A third of Indians surf the net for health info: Survey

Monday, January 17, 2011

MUMBAI - Nearly 40 percent of Indian respondents of a global online poll said they used the internet to search for health-related information, a statement said Monday.

Findings of the 12-nation poll, released by Max Bupa Health Insurance, said that the high cost of face-to-face consultations with medical professionals may be one reason for the trend.

“More than one third Indians (39 percent) go online for health information. The percentage of people using the internet for finding health solutions in other emerging nations are Russia (39 percent), China (32 percent), Brazil (29 percent) and Mexico (27 percent),” the company’s director (marketing) Shefali Chhachhi said, quoting from the research report.

The research also indicated that use of the internet to search for health information varied with age and its use dropped sharply for those above 35 years of age.

“The primary use of the internet for health purposes is finding information about medicines (68 percent of respondents) in all countries. Other uses include searching for information to make a self-diagnosis (46 percent) and seeking other patients experiences (39 percent),” she said.

The survey also indicated that nearly 28 percent of the respondents from India in the higher income bracket made use of the internet to search for information often, compared with 21 percent of the lower and middle income groups.

The research also pointed out that more young people (age bracket of 18-24 and 25-34 years) relied on social networking sites.

As many as 18 percent of respondents were using social networking sites to find out about healthcare issues, Chhachhi said.

Filed under: Medicine

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