Exposure to DTC ads leads to information seeking

IN SUMMARY: Proponents of DTC advertising argue that advertisements can raise awareness about treatments and health conditions, though others say that DTC advertising can lead to overprescribing. However, the authors of a recent study found that information seeking behavior following exposure to DTC advertising. Some of these studies associated information seeking more strongly with patients with chronic conditions and those with a more positive view of DTC advertising.

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Patients should no even think of using Facebook for health

  • Facebook’s leaders seriously discussed selling access to user data — and privacy was an afterthought.
  • Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data.
  • Facebook ultimately decided not to sell the data directly but rather to dole it out to app developers who were considered personal “friends” of Zuckerberg or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own valuable data.
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Bad online health information is costing us all

  • The Internet allows the spread of false and misleading health information.
  •  Researchers at the CDC, for example, estimated that handling 107 cases of measles that occurred in 2011 cost state and local health departments between $2.7 million and $5.3 million. 
  • A generation ago, patients were largely dependent upon the physicians they consulted as to how best to deal with a disease like cancer. Today they are becoming more reliant on mHealth, the Internet and digital health.
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More confusion for online health seekers

IN SUMMARY: Online health seekers are becoming more and more confused as conflicting health news seems to counteract previous reports about products like baby aspirin. The release of new and updated health information means that online health seekers have to spend more time online to peel away the layers of “hype” from the facts.

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Facebook has a ton of false or misleading health information

  • Three quarters of health information on Facebook was either misleading or included some false information. Only three were considered “highly credible.” Some lacked context of the issue, exaggerated the harms of a potential threat, or overstated research findings.
  • Many articles never back claims with links to original sources or research studies to support findings.
  • In terms of overall credibility, slightly less than half, of posts, achieved a high credibility rating. However, highly rated articles received 11 million shares, while poorly rated articles had roughly 8.5 million shares.
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The jungle of online health information

  • 75 percent of adults have searched online for health-related information in the last year.
  • When faced with an actual or potential diagnosis of cancer, most people are inclined to consult Dr. Google, often before they see a real live medical expert.
  • It’s easy for people to land on a site filled with misinformation that leads them to make decisions that may not be in their best interests,” said Dr. Lidia Schapira, medical oncologist at Stanford University Medical Center.
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Online health seekers don’t trust social media

  • 74% of Americans think the integrity of mainstream social media sites are diminishing and are less likely to use them to find trusted information. (Source: Tapatalk)
  • 80% trust responses on a specialized forum more than those on Facebook
  • 72% say forums are more reliable for trustworthy information.
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