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:
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 http://bit.ly/PewHealthTips, 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.:)