A just-released study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that only 62% of adults living with chronic diseases go online, contrasting with 81% of the adult population without chronic conditions. This is mirrored by disproportionately lower online researching of health topics by the same groups: 51% versus 66%. In this gap there’s a big upside (as marketers say). Furnishing online access rapidly expands their world–and this same group with chronic conditions is also highly connected offline to health professionals, friends, family and books. And mobile devices are rapidly bringing less expensive online access, along with healthcare applications, to a wider demographic audience. Healthcare IT News. Pew Internet study site. Related New York Times article.
ADDITION 29 March: On the other side of the ‘patient-doctor divide’, here are two articles about doctors using social networks to improve their diagnoses: Social Networking Goes Professional (WSJ) and Behind Doctors’ Social Networking Websites (San Antonio Healthcare).