When it comes to getting health information, a growing number of consumers are turning to the Internet to connect with others. A study of usage trends by iMedix, the community-powered health search engine, has revealed that 85 percent of active iMedix members use the site to chat and send private messages to others interested in similar health topics.
iMedix has identified the top 20 topics that generate the most patient-to-patient interaction, specifically those that caused the most chat discussions. The list includes a wide range of health issues such as ADD / ADHD, bronchitis and cancer. It also includes many topics that are typically more difficult to discuss face-to-face with friends, family, doctors or other patients, like acne, alcoholism, chlamydia, depression, genital herpes and obesity. iMedix enables users suffering from any health condition to find others interested in the same topic and discuss their symptoms and treatment in a secure, private environment. A full list of the top 20 chat topics, as well as the top 20 search terms is included below.
The company also analyzed the top terms used by members to describe their health interests. Users can tag their profiles with these terms to enable others searching on similar topics to find them. Although users are willing to chat about sensitive issues, most don't include those topics in their stated interests. The top 20 interests include cancer, diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy, as well as depression, weight and diet. A list of the top 20 stated interests is below.
The analysis also reveals the top 20 iMedix search queries, which include difficult-to-discuss issues like chlamydia, gonorrhea and hepatitis. Other frequent search terms include: asthma, autism, diabetes, meningitis, salmonella and scabies.
According to a recent Forrester report, "one in five consumers are using social computing as the single means of obtaining knowledge about their health conditions."(1) iMedix tries to address this demand by enabling users to find health content online and also allow them to engage with others on health topics.
"When we founded iMedix, we wanted to find a way for people to tap into others' experiences in order to be more educated and in control of their health-related decisions. We didn't know the level to which consumers would be comfortable sharing their health information," said Amir Leitersdorf, CEO and co-founder of iMedix. "But we've found that people want to interact directly with each other for support and advice, even when it comes to more sensitive health concerns. The vast majority of our users are engaging in discussions with other members and many are finding comfort and useful information from doing so."
Top 20 Search Queries on iMedix
5. Heart attacks
15. Caffeine withdrawal
Top 20 User Stated Interests
4. Heart disease
8. Back pain
9. High blood pressure
Top 20 Search Queries that Caused Most Chat Discussions
7. Breast cancer
10. Hepatitis C
13. Alcohol withdrawal
16. Colon cancer
17. Genital herpes
The analysis is based on 150,000 search queries.