Survey results for

May/June: Understanding your influences: How do you learn about health?

Last month, talkhealth launched an investigation into where people living with chronic conditions consume health information, whether they trust these platforms, and which outlets they are most influenced by. The survey, which garnered more than 500 responses highlighted people’s distrust in social media, and more. Read the key findings below…

1. People still trust healthcare professionals over other information sources 

It doesn’t come as a surprise that consultants and GPs still take the top spot when it comes to sources of information that people seek and trust. The majority of respondents (34%) cite that they trust their ‘specialist consultant’ over their general practitioner. However, when asked what they trust slightly less, GPs and the NHS website are the most popular. 

2. Disinformation on social media means people are seeking health information from traditional media sources 

57% of people would never seek health information from Twitter, with a close following 55% never using Instagram to learn about their health. Interestingly, more people are likely to use Facebook, which suggests that the more community-style content is favoured. 

The majority of people engage with newspapers and online news outlets to learn about their health, and they do so on a regular basis - citing everyday, and weekly, as their preferred frequency. On top of this 38% of people use forums the most, which reinforces the power of community and personal storytelling in trusted health content. 

3. People are the most likely to purchase something that they have seen on a health forum, over other sources like social media, newspapers and podcasts 

The largest portion of respondents are ‘the most likely to purchase a product or service’ that they have seen on online forums. As with the above, this proves the power of anecdotal evidence and reviews for the selling of health products. If people see themselves using something that works, brands are more likely to see success.

Multiple respondents that left comments referenced magazines as another source of influence for spending on health products. 

4. People are more likely to seek information online and via television than they are speak to friends and family or support groups 

Despite the evidence that people trust in-real-life advice from healthcare professionals, people are less likely to seek trusted advice from support groups and their friends and family. In fact, over three quarters of respondents have never been to group sessions (ie. physio, therapy, hydrotherapy etc). And, most people only speak to their friends and family ‘sometimes’. 

If you're interested in a detailed analysis of the results for these surveys please contact us.