Patients with pain, mental health issues most 'e-empowered'

December 23, 2010

Patients most likely to be "e-empowered" are those with pain-related or mental health conditions, according to the 10th Cybercitizen Health U.S. study by Manhattan Research.

Patients most likely to be “e-empowered” are those with pain-related or mental health conditions, according to the 10th Cybercitizen Health U.S. study by Manhattan Research.

“This is not surprising given how difficult diagnosis and treatment can be for patients with these conditions,” says Meredith Ressi, vice president of research at Manhattan Research. “In the absence of clear diagnostic measures for these conditions, it is often up to consumers to advocate for themselves to get the help they need.”

E-empowered consumers, according to the company, have undertaken one of the following activities as a result of the information or tools they found online:

• challenged a physician’s treatment or diagnosis;

• asked a doctor to change their treatment;

• discussed information found online at a physician’s appointment;

• used the Internet instead of going to the doctor; or

• made a healthcare decision because of online information.

In 2010, 99 million U.S. adults can be considered e-empowered consumers, according to the company.

“Ten years ago when we first conducted this study, medicine was primarily physician-centric, with the doctor acting as the primary health information source used by most consumers,” Ressi says. “When consumers do go to the doctor [now], they are able to have more informed conversations about their care, thanks to the availability of online information.”