Caregiver Series Part 3: The U.S. Caregiver – How to connect with caregivers online

The 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study has unique information about many types of healthcare consumers, including the American caregiver. In the final part of our three-part series, we’ll review how caregivers go online and utilize digital sources of healthcare information. Part two of the series can be viewed here.

U.S. caregivers are a digitally savvy group of individuals. According to the MARS Consumer Health Study, 42% are heavy to medium-heavy internet consumers and they spend more time online on average compared to total U.S. adults:

Online for Health and Wellness

84% of caregivers use the internet for health and wellness in contrast to 73% of total U.S. adults. This is true for caregivers under age 50 as well as age 50+; Over 3 in 4 older caregivers (ages 50+) are going online for health and wellness purposes.

In terms of frequency, younger caregivers (under age 50) are 25% more likely than total caregivers to use the internet for health and wellness 2 to 3 times a week.

Why is digital important to caregivers?

Caregivers may be turning to digital sources of information for quick and easy access to health information. Over 1 in 4 (26%) indicate they research health information for other family members. More than half (52%) indicate the internet is the first source they turn to when researching health and wellness. They also have more positive attitudes toward online health information than total adults:

% more likely to agree than total U.S. adults

  • 25% more likely to agree they are more comfortable talking about health and wellness concerns online than face-to-face
  • 24% more likely to agree that researching online gives them the confidence to speak knowledgeably about a condition
  • 22% more likely to agree that the internet provides them with a wealth of resources when they are searching for health information

What are they researching online?

Caregivers are actively researching condition and treatment information, and also taking advantage of online resources to look for second opinions such as alternative treatment options or treatment advice after a diagnosis.

Mobile Devices/Mobile App Usage

In terms of mobile device ownership, caregivers closely resemble the total U.S. population; 87% own or regularly use a smartphone or tablet. However, caregivers are heavier users of mobile apps for health and wellness. They are 63% more likely than total adults to have used a health-related app on their mobile devices (smartphone or tablet) in the last six months. Also, this group is 25% more likely to agree that there are mobile apps available that would improve their current health. Of those that use mobile apps for health, the top indexing health-related apps used are ailment and treatment focused:

Where are caregivers using mobile devices for health information?

Compared to other adult mobile device users, caregivers are more likely to use their mobile devices to look for health information in a hospital or healthcare provider setting:

About the study

Kantar Media’s 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study is a trusted information source for reaching different patient groups and uncovering deep consumer insights. It provides stable and reliable media and healthcare data that is projectable to the U.S. population to better meet the needs of agencies, marketers, healthcare facilities, insurers and media companies. The study contains detailed information among U.S. adults including online and offline media usage for 100+ consumer magazines, newspapers and health-related publications as well as TV, radio, and internet usage.

Click here to learn more.

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