1 in 5 Americans Use Social Media for Health Care Information

LINCOLN, Neb. – February 28, 2011 – One in five Americans use social media websites as a source of health care information, according to National Research Corp.’s Ticker survey, the largest, most up-to-date poll on consumer health care opinions and behaviors.

Facebook topped the list of available websites, with 94 percent of respondents indicating they’ve used the popular social network to gather information on their health care. 32 percent used YouTube, a video sharing site. Twitter, an emerging micro-blog site for B2C communication, landed in third with only 18 percent of respondents – tying with MySpace. FourSquare, a location-based website, garnered only 2 percent response.

Americans think highly of the usability of social media but are tempered in crowning it the premiere source of health care information when considering all options.

• When asked social media’s influence, 1 in 4 respondents said it was “very likely” or “likely” to impact their future health care decisions.

• When asked their level of trust in social media, 32 percent said “very high” or “high”, only 7.5 percent said “very low”.

*Respondents still backed hospital websites are the premiere source of online health care information with 1 in 2 preferring heath provider websites to any source. 14 percent preferred an integrated approach of hospital websites and social media combined. 3 percent preferred only social media.

*When asked their preferred method of receiving advertising, 1 in 5 respondents still prefer TV. Traditional sources – Newspaper, Radio - were also more preferred than social media websites. Consumers appear guarded when thinking of B2C messaging invading their social networks, possibly reducing the appeal of promoting health care services via social media.

Ticker surveys 22,877 Americans across the country each month and is not affiliated with any special interest group. The margin of error is +0.7 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. Ticker is a registered trademark of National Research Corp., a publicly traded company (Nasdaq: NRCI) headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Americans using social media for health care are affluent and young – 41 years old on average. Those not using social media for health care skewed older – 48 years old. Households earning $75,000+ were more likely to use social media for health care purposes than households earning less.

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