Tracking, social networking rising for health information

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The just-published 2011 edition of The Social Life of Health Information, from Pew Internet and the California HealthCare Foundation, shows that 27% of internet users go online to track weight or other health indicators online and 18% go online to find others with health concerns similar to their own–rising to 23% if one or more chronic conditions are present. There is also an increase in social networking–Facebook and other forums–as a source of health information and interacting with others. 15% of social network site users–7% of all adults–use social networking to get health information, up slightly from 11% in 2008. But 23% of social network users follow friends’ personal health experiences and 17% sadly use it to remember or memorialize others who suffered from a health condition.

Other new CHCF studies include Measuring the Impact of Patient Portals and The State of HIT in California.

**Update 13 May pm** Further riffing on the Pew/CHCF findings by Alex Howard at the O’Reilly Radar emerging tech blog: the rise of the ‘quantified self’ in the increase of sensor-based and online health data tracking, e-patients’ social networking and the new ‘digital divide’ between those with smartphones (younger, affluent) and those without (older) leaving those most in need of health information and services behind. TED and Mayo Clinic conference videos.