Discussing health, wellness online can improve behaviors, survey finds
WAUKESHA, Wis. — More than a quarter of adults have discussed health information online, and almost a third have changed their behavior as a result, according to a new survey.
Harris Interactive released results of a survey of 2,133 adults conducted online in mid-October on behalf of GE Healthcare that found that while social media can help improve health, non-users cite privacy as a barrier to further engagement.
The survey found that 82% of adults had used social media in the past 12 months, while 26% have discussed health information online. Of those 26%, 30% had changed their behavior as a result — particularly changing diets and fitness behavior — while 42% used social media to seek or post information about a current medical condition or find clinical trials on a specific condition. Nearly 35% used them to get or give support about fitness and health goals, while 29% used it to follow brands, companies and organizations related to fitness, health, diet or specific medical conditions. When respondents were asked why they used social media, 49% said it was because it provided a quick and easy way to get health information and recommendations, while 47% said it was a good way to get different opinions from a wide range of people.
Still, 45% had concerns about trustworthiness about information, and 44% were concerned about accuracy, and 46% had concerns about others knowing about their diet, health, fitness or conditions.
"We are just starting to tap the power of social media and its ability to change health behaviors," GE Healthcare chief communications officer Jeff DeMarrais said. "It will require a mix of smart tools, savvy consumers, pioneering health experts and education to continue changing conversations and behaviors."
Dollar General and St. Judes are “Serving Others” this holiday season
Dollar General, for the seventh consecutive year, is partnering with St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital for their Thanks and Giving® campaign and the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation. Customers who shop with Dollar General now through Dec. 16 can participate by donating $1 or more when they check-out.
Since the inception of the Thanks and Giving® program, Dollar General’s initiative has helped raise more than $7.5 million for St. Judes, the nation’s leading pediatric research and treatment center devoted solely to children with cancer and other deadly diseases.
"Dollar General is honored to support St. Jude’s work in saving children’s lives by participating in the Thanks and Giving® campaign," said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. "Our customers have been very generous in supporting the Thanks and Giving® campaign over the years, and we are excited to offer the opportunity to contribute again this holiday season."
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New national NP membership organization illustrates need to speak with one voice
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American College of Nurse Practitioners will merge the organizations effective in January. With approximately 40,000 members, the new organization, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, or AANP, will serve as the largest professional membership organization in the country for nurse practitioners of all specialties.
With the nation facing a growing shortage of primary care physicians and some 30 million Americans gaining health insurance in 2014 due to healthcare reform, it is no secret that the nation is grappling with a strained healthcare system. If nurse practitioners are serious about expanding their role in health care, they need to speak with one voice.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 67 million people in the United States live in a primacy care shortage area. “And for Americans who do have a regular physician, only 57% report having access to same or next-day appointments and 63% [have] difficulty getting access to care on nights, weekends or holidays without going to the emergency room. … 20% of adults waited six days or more to see a doctor when they were sick in 2010,” Marketdata Enterprises noted in a study released in late September. It is estimated that the primary care physician shortage will reach about 60,000 by 2015.
Recognizing the high-quality health care that nurse practitioners can provide, strides are being made to ensure that nurse practitioners can practice to their fullest potential. For example, a recent survey of health insurers, specifically Health Maintenance Organizations, found that 75% of HMOs credential with nurse practitioners as primary care providers, an increase over previous years. In addition, Massachusetts lawmakers recently passed a massive healthcare bill that brings expanded scope of services, in such areas as monitoring of chronic diseases and prevention and wellness offerings, to patients of limited-service clinics.
Such developments are no doubt significant, but the reality is that if nurse practitioners are serious about expanding their role in health care they need to speak with a unified, powerful voice.
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