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1/3 of Online Users Turn to Social and One-to-One Media for Health Information

JupiterResearch has found that 34 percent of adult online users (54 million people) in the U.S. said they have connected to others or to the content others created online about health and wellness issues in the past year.

Detailed in a new report, “Online Health: Assessing the Risk and Opportunity of Social and One-to-One Media,” JupiterResearch refers to these adult users as Health Connectors – a population segment that health marketers and stakeholders must reach as the influence of consumer-created content continues to grow.

“Health Connectors share meaningful concrete information and trust, so they are likely to impact important health decisions such as what drugs to buy, hospitals to use, doctors to see, insurance to buy, etcetera,” said Monique Levy, JupiterResearch Senior Analyst and lead author of the report. “This can hurt brands and services, but also benefit them if they leverage word of mouth and social marketing.”

Health Connectors are highly interactive and trust one another, representing a significant threat and opportunity among health stakeholders. To address these challenges, marketers must reach out to influencers, leverage experts, and sponsor content alongside consumer-created content, among other tactics.

“We continue to see consumer-created content’s increasing impact on many markets and the healthcare industry is no exception,” said David Schatsky, President of JupiterKagan. “Online users are highly motivated to consume, create and share health content, suggesting there is an efficient viral network among online Health Connectors, so negative or positive consumer-created content can spread quickly.”

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.