A Pew Research Internet Project survey titled “Health Online 2013” (http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/01/15/health-online-2013/) indicates that 72 percent of Internet users looked for online health information during 2012. Treatment information was second only to disease states among heavily researched topics.
Where do individuals currently seek this health information? According to survey authors Susannah Fox and Maeve Duggan, eight out of ten online health inquiries start with search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. These findings, and those from similar studies, suggest that the margin for error in information discovery may be wider than anticipated. As access to information grows, librarians have an imperative to direct their patrons to quality information, and to evaluate electronic resources for accessibility, reliability, and efficiency.