A recent survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by UserTesting and conducted by OnePoll shows a growing trend of Americans preferring to seek medical advice from social media and health-focused websites rather than consulting healthcare professionals.
The findings revealed that a notable number of individuals prioritize the web for what they believe to be reliable health information, with 53% turning to healthcare websites and 46% to social media platforms, as opposed to 44% who would first approach an actual doctor.
Furthermore, almost three out of four people– or 73%– think that they understand their own health better than their doctor does.
The survey also found varying levels of trust in artificial intelligence (AI) for health-related tasks across the globe. While 44% of British and 27% of Australian respondents (each group numbering 1,000 adults) expressed distrust in AI for any health-related activities, only 6% of American participants shared this skepticism towards AI in healthcare.
Highlighting this trend further, two-thirds of Americans admit to searching for their symptoms online using search engines such as Google or health information websites, including WebMD.
The survey participants also indicated a preference for consulting the internet or ChatGPT over their doctor due to various reasons. Approximately 57% cited confusion about their healthcare insurance coverage, 51% reported feeling embarrassed about their health issues, and 45% claimed they wanted a second opinion.
According to Lija Hogan, a spokesperson for UserTesting, the patient experience– or “PX”– is about more than just the relationship between patients and healthcare providers.
“Healthcare journeys include digital touchpoints that extend beyond scheduling appointments or remote visits. Americans are using AI as a means to help them navigate a complex experience with more information that is understandable and relevant to them– and that they feel is trustworthy,” Hogan said.
The survey further revealed that a majority of people are open to trusting AI for various health-related tasks, including suggesting treatment plans (53%), arranging doctor appointments (52%), and liaising with pharmacies for prescription fulfillment (47%).