- Pharmacists warn of dangers of using internet for health advice -
As the recession rumbles on Irish consumers are turning to the internet to self diagnose and seek advice on health conditions. A nationwide survey of 1,000 adults carried out by Quinn Healthcare revealed “almost half of Irish people (46%) find that the cost of attending their GP encourages them to consult the Internet for medical diagnosis“.
The National Consumer Agency puts the average cost per GP visit at an average of €51…prohibitive for the 60% of women and 50% of men under 44 who are turning to “Dr Google” for information on health issues.
Other stats from the survey include:
- 45% would use a phone service or web chat if GPs offered this service, with Dublin respondents being most positive on these methods of consultation (52%)
- On average 35% of the population believe the Internet is a trustworthy source of medical information, with young men being the biggest believers (48%)
- 53% of females aged between 35-44 use the Internet for a second opinion and as a tool to challenge GP diagnosis
- More than 55% of younger males, and also 54% of women aged between 35-44 would consult the Internet rather than their GP if suffering from an embarrassing medical problem
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) posted a statement in response to this research, saying: “We are concerned at the growing trend for people using the internet to self diagnose. The information online may not always be correct and your symptoms could worsen if you are not properly diagnosed. We encourage people to drop in and ask their pharmacist first for advice.”
The IPU ‘Ask your Pharmacist First’ campaign has been running for some months now with a series of radio adverts and the launch of their website ‘watercooleradvice.ie‘. On the interactive site you can type in any health topic and the three ‘watercooler experts’ will give you their advice. The idea being to underscore that “On the internet, everyone’s an “expert” and you should ask a qualified healthcare professional (such as your pharmacist) for advice.
The most interesting stat that jumps out of this research for me is the fact that women are using the internet as a virtual ‘second opinion’, gathering information to challenge their GP’s initial diagnosis. This trend suggests training healthcare professionals in communications techniques to allow them to effectively manage the expectations of ‘e-patients’ armed with print outs from the internet will become a vital element of their professional development.
I doubt that anything will dissuade consumers from seeking information online…convenience, curiosity and cost savings will mean that the numbers of people visiting “Dr Google” is only going to increase. The focus of those operating in the healthcare sector, (the Department of Health, healthcare professionals, advocacy groups and pharmaceutical companies), should be on ensuring that accurate and engaging health education content is available for all conditions and that this is readily accessible online.
The e-patient is not going away and so healthcare must adapt to provide e-treatment.
The Guardian is reporting that the Press Complaints Commission (PPC) in the UK are set to regulate the social media posts of newspapers and journalists. The regulatory body rightly deems that tweets and other social media posts are part of a “newspaper’s editorial product” but at present such writings are not covered under the PPC code.
The article states that the PPC would look to distinguish between a journalists professional and personal accounts – cue journalists adding disclaimers a go-go and securing profiles in variations of their name in preparation!
So if this comes to pass will it change the online habits of journalists? Will they now be slower to give comment and opinion on emerging issues or are those working in the media in this digital age already mindful of the regulator when pressing the ‘enter’ key?
A new report on the UK’s internet economy has been released. Postitioning the UK as “The Connected Kingdom“, the report states that the UK internet economy is worth £100b – 7.2% of GDP. This figure is predicted to grow to 10% by 2015.
Commissioned by Google UK but researched and written independently by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the report reveals that SMEs are fueling much of this growth. More than 900 small and medium enterprises were surveyed by BCG highlighting that the companies that actively use the Internet reported overall sales growth more than four times greater than that of less active companies.
This video (below) gives an overview of the key stats and includes some brief case studies on some UK SMEs for which the web is integral to their business success.
So how far behind our neighbours are we in the e-commerce stakes? Continue reading »
This is brilliant. Really brilliant.
A presentation on the best online campaigns and web projects by Tom Uglow of Google Creative Labs. It takes you through 119 music and video filled slides, packed with inspiring digital campaigns from across every sector from music to politics and everything in between.
The full presentation is embedded here but I’d recommend you view it on Google Docs…not surprising since it’s a Google creation!
Grab a coffee or bookmark this to digest later…well worth watching.
Singer-songwriter Prince is on the publicity trail as he’s about to release his latest album “20Ten” as a freebie with European newspapers and magazines. In the UK, fans will be able to get their hands one of 2.5millions CDs on July 10th when they buy their copy of the Daily Mirror or the Scottish paper, the Daily Record. Concert tickets will also be given away in competitions in those papers.
In Prince’s first UK newspaper interview in over 10 years and a “World exclusive” with the Daily Mirror, he said:
“The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.
The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good.”
As a result Prince’s album won’t be released via download on iTunes, you won’t get any official videos on YouTube and the eccentric singer has even closed down his official website.
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