More than 52.2% of the European population use the Internet for health related purposes. In 2005 this percentage was 43.2%
Significant growth in the use of Internet for health purposes was found in all the seven countries participating in the survey, with an average growth of 9.9% (8.5 – 11.3). Highest growth was noted in Germany (12.2%), Poland (11.8%), and Latvia (11.3%), whereas the lowest growth was noted in Portugal (9.1%), Greece (8.9%), and Norway (6.6%).
- In the younger age group aged 15 – 25 years, 83.5% of the women used the Internet for health purposes in 2007. The corresponding proportion for men was 72.4%. At the older age group (66 – 80 years), we saw the opposite effect, where 22.6% of men and 9.9% of women used the Internet for health purposes.
- Overall with increasing age the use of Internet for Health information decreases
- There is considerable variation in the importance placed on the Internet as a source of health information within the seven European countries studied. In Denmark currently, the Internet is already considered the second most important source, preceded only by “health professionals”. At the other end of the scale, in Greece, the Internet is considered the least important source of information about health and health-related problems.
- There is an increase in Internet use for health information. To a great extent this increase in use can be explained by improved Internet access.
- Rather than using the Internet to search for and read health information, people are increasingly taking part in online communication with peers, unknown professionals, and their family doctors. In addition, the Internet is being used by more people for ordering medical health products.
How was this study done?
The survey data were collected through computer-assisted telephone interviews. A representative sample (N = 14,956) from seven European countries has been used: Denmark, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Norway, Poland, and Portugal. The European eHealth Consumer Trends Survey was first conducted in October-November 2005 and repeated in April-May 2007. In addition to providing background information, respondents were asked to rate the importance of various sources of health information. They were also queried as to the frequency of different online activities related to health and illness and the effects of such use on their disposition.
- Short follow-up period of 18 months.
- No information on education of the respondents.
- No information on income from the respondents.
The use of Internet for health information is growing. In the future elderly will also participate. Interactivity will play an important role in ehealth information development.
What do you think?
Per Egil Kummervold, Catherine E Chronaki, Berthold Lausen, Hans-Ulrich Prokosch, Janne Rasmussen, Silvina Santana, Andrzej Staniszewski, Silje Camilla Wangberg (2008). eHealth Trends in Europe 2005-2007: A Population-Based Survey Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10 (4) DOI: 10.2196/jmir.1023