The number of Americans seeking health information online reached 157.5 million people — 1.6 times the number of online health seekers found in 2005.

The number of Americans seeking online information about prescription drugs grew to 102.3 million people — double the number of Americans researching Rx’s online in 2005.

Manhattan Research’s 9th and latest Cybercitizen Health survey, released on October 2, 2009, firmly establishes the fact that mainstream Americans are becoming ePatients. These findings support what Susannah Fox found earlier this year in her Pew Internet & American Life survey, The Social Life of Health Information. That poll estimated that 61% of American adults go online for health information.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Mark Bard, president of Manhattan Research, is quick (and right) to point out that health information search isn’t just about the ‘e’ — that is, the online search. People find health engagement through trusted relationships, online and offline. This includes health providers such as trusted relationships with doctors, friends and family, media outlets of personal choice (broadcast TV and cable, the dwindling supply of newspapers), and favorite magazines (again, dwindling in supply with today’s news of Conde Nast’s sad shutdown of Gourmet and Cookie, among others).

Health engagement will be optimally realized when health citizens meet up with trusted health content and tools where they want to be engaged: at home, on the move, at the workplace, in the gym, or the grocery store. Those nodes of health information and communication who seek health consumers’ attention need to touch these various points to curry favor, trust and ongoing engagement with their customers and patients. The growing numbers of people going online to manage health on and ongoing basis will expect nothing less.

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