Even though individuals are increasing their reliance on mobile devices, a recent survey found that when it comes to personal healthcare, patients still prefer a final diagnosis from a doctor. When medical facilities enlist the partnership of an answering service that specializes in online customer services, they can guarantee that patients can receive certified opinions in whatever medium is most convenient to them.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, out of the nearly 81 percent of U.S. adults who say they use the Internet, 72 percent claim they have looked up health information online in the past year. Of those individuals, 59 percent – whom Pew labeled “online diagnosers” – said they have gone online to figure out a medical condition for themselves or someone else.
Furthermore, 53 percent of online diagnosers said they discussed their findings with a doctor, while 41 percent reported their findings were confirmed by a clinician.
“Online health information is available day or night, at no cost, and the Internet has become a de facto second opinion for many people,” lead author Susannah Fox, an associate director of the Project, said in a statement. “The open search box invites people to begin their journey toward better health, but this study shows that the Internet is just one piece of the puzzle. Clinicians are still central.”
These findings are similar to a study done last year, by the University of California, Davis. That report showed that of 500 people interviewed, 70 percent planned to ask their doctors questions about information they found online while 40 percent printed Web materials to bring to their medical visits.
Even with technology growing in popularity, medical facilities need to ensure that patients can reach a real person 24/7. Working with a medical answering service can bring back a human aspect to the ever-growing technical presence.