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The report was issued overnight – see Susannah’s post here about it, media coverage (via Google), and blogs.

I’m stealing some Susannah Fox thunder here because I can’t wait, and you should carve out a spot in your calendar tomorrow. Here’s her tweet just now:

New @pewinternet health data tomorrow! 7am ET = full report on and my blog post on – can’t wait!

Pew data is always big news. The movement we cover on this blog – engaged patients, doctor-patient partnerships, online patients and communities – has constantly been beset with rumors, blind guesses, and uninformed speculation about who’s doing what and what it means. One once-over-lightly PR firm talks about engaged online patients as “cyberchondriacs,” an ignorant term that connotes imaginary illness; some observers hear stories good and bad outcomes and guess at inferences, which is reasonable if you don’t have data.

And that’s where Pew Research comes in. They have a strict policy of only reporting the facts, not speculating on what it all means. (Susannah refers to herself as an “internet geologist” – “I count the rocks.”)

If you’ve heard important reality metrics like

  • 85% of U.S. adults use the internet
  • 80% of internet users look online for health information
  • 31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information

… or the term “peer to peer healthcare,” know that they’re Pew data, all summarized for quick reference in Susannah’s “tip sheet” at, including trends over time.

Evangelists like me add commentary to make our case, for instance: “Look, everyone’s doing it – we can’t stop it, so we should get with the program and help people improve their skills.” That’s our role; Pew just delivers the facts. Pay attention.:)


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