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Attention Span and Online Health

Posted Aug 25 2008 3:24pm
Does the short attention span and constant distraction that corporate workers suffer from reduce the quality of information they find on the Internet?



That's the interesting idea put forth by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn in an op-ed piece about attention span and health information appearing on the iHealthBeat e-newsletter.



In addition to the usual warnings about people not knowing where Internet medical information is coming from, she says this:

Low attention span + shallow searching = poor health outcomes?

When it comes to attention spans, Web searchers on average look at only 1.9 pages of search engine results, according to a PIP report on search engine users by Deborah Fallows. The report states, "Nearly all searchers consider themselves successful in their searching."



This is the crux of CMPI's concerns: that the so-called "Insta-American" doesn't search deeply enough and that the results appearing on the first couple pages from search engines might not contain the best information.

If you provide online medical information for your employees, this could be a problem. If people check out only 2 pages of information before feeling they've succeeded--and, maybe, take medical action--that's not good. There's plenty more education to do.

For more information, check out Deborah Fallows's report on uses of search engines for health information.

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