Around 55 per cent of Kiwis are now using the internet to research their medical woes and 22 per cent claim to be doing so once or more each week.
Research carried out for the Southern Cross Healthcare Group showed that of those who were using the internet to research their medical condition, 21 per cent used it to identify the issue themselves and 4 per cent did not go to the doctor as a result.
The national TNS survey also showed that the most likely to search for health information online were those living in Wellington and Tauranga, were women and typically under 50 years of age.
Ian McPherson, Southern Cross Healthcare Group CEO said that given the wealth of information available online it’s no surprise people are using the internet to research conditions.
“Though online information should never replace a consultation with a qualified health professional, good quality information can provide a huge measure of reassurance, it can also give people a greater understanding of medical conditions that may be affecting them or their loved ones.”
Southern Cross’ own online medical library has experienced growth, with visits increasing by 106 per cent in the last year. Attracting over 1.3 million site visits in 2013, the most popular pages were glandular fever, pneumonia, diabetes, menopause and gout.
The medical library, which houses information across 17 categories, is provided free by Southern Cross.
“People know they’re in safe hands with Southern Cross. Health is where our credentials lie. From the hits received on our website, Kiwis obviously trust us to provide high-quality, understandable general health information,” said McPherson.