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December 2005

TRACKING PUBLIC USE OF THE INTERNET

It is estimated that over 110 million individuals rely on the Internet each year to research health-related information ( The Pew Internet ). One of the most common health conditions researched on the Internet is back pain. To help meet this demand the American Academy of Spine Physicians (AASP) is developing one of the largest online databases of educational information for patients and the public about the spine, spine disorders, spine-related products and spinecare. 

The Internet provides many of the same services that are available in the offline world. The Internet platform offer access to more information and provides resources more efficiently. Accessing information takes less time than more traditional methods. The Internet provides access to a broad range of information on all topics, particularly healthcare. Internet users can quickly access renowned experts and national organizations such as the AASP by pressing a few keys. Individuals no longer have to rely on word of mouth referrals or local businesses for assistance.

The Internet offers access to multimedia coverage of topics at minimal to no cost. The World Wide Web has placed a greater demand on all businesses to be better at what they do and how they educate their customers and the public. There is no better example of this than the healthcare field. Internet users can go to national organizations like the AASP to learn more about signs, symptoms and conditions. A growing number of people are using the Internet to find healthcare specialist or subspecialists rather than going to the yellow pages. Consumers use the Internet to research therapeutic options and make sure their physicians give them all of the options. The public and patients are accessing leading edge information on the Internet about diagnostic and therapeutic options.  Subsequently, some individuals may be helping to keep their physician up-to-date. 



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