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Logging on for a second (or third) opinion

New York Times, September 30, 2008

At least three-quarters of all Internet users look for health information online, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Of those with a high-speed connection, 1 in 9 do health research on a typical day. And 75% of online patients with a chronic problem told the researchers that “their last health search affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition,” according to a Pew Report released in August. Reliance on the Internet is so prevalent, said the report’s author, Susannah Fox, the associate director at Pew, that "Google is the de facto second opinion" for patients seeking further information after a diagnosis.