Almost Three-Quarters (70%) of Online Canadians Have Visited a Healthcare Website in the Past Year

One-half (51%) of online Canadians find their own diagnosis on the internet is usually correct after consultation with a doctor: Ipsos Reid

January 14, 2009 – Calgary, AB � A new study released by Ipsos Reid, Online Healthcare: Coming of Age, has found that almost three-quarters (70%) of online Canadians have visited a healthcare website in the past year. This figure is up slightly (+4%) from the last time the study was conducted in 2002. Study author Mark Laver noted that �this is another confirmation that the Internet has come of age as a meaningful resource tool for those online.�

Many online Canadians are using the Internet to conduct their own self-diagnosis as well, with one-half (51%) of online Canadians saying their own diagnosis via the Internet is usually confirmed as being correct after consultation with a doctor. However, it doesn�t appear this is resulting in a significant reduction in trips to the doctor�s office, with only one-in-five (19%) agreeing that they visit their doctor less often because of information they find on the Internet. �While the Internet is a fantastic information tool, when it comes to something as important as an individual�s health, online Canadians still seem to be referring to the wisdom of a professional,� Laver continues.

The study also shows that online healthcare sites appeal to all age groups, differing from some areas of the Internet which are largely dominated by younger users. �Ultimately the report is telling us that for healthcare the Internet is a very useful tool for information dissemination and educating the general public,� concludes Laver.

This release is based on the findings of an Ipsos Reid syndicated study, the Inter@ctive Reid Report, fielded from 10/21 to 10/26, 2008. This online survey of 2644 Canadian adults was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid’s national online panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 1.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada’s market intelligence leader, the country’s leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid’s marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.