PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New research says a growing number of Americans are turning to their phones and computers for their health — everything from information to doctors’ visit. There’s no doubt it is quick and easy as the internet provides a wealth of information and now even health care monitoring along with virtual visits.
While the science might be exciting, experts say there are also plenty of potential dangers.
Americans are turning to technology for everything from appointment scheduling to exercise inspiration, according to a new survey. Forty-four percent of people follow health and fitness advice from social media.
“There can be a lot of false health claims out there, there can be a lot of issues, but they can also be very inspiring,” Dr. Mark Hyman from the Cleveland Clinic says. “You can see people’s stories of them changing their diet, losing weight, getting healthy, so it’s an awesome way to inspire and connect people.”
The research shows we’re socializing less in person, as 51% of those surveyed preferred to send a text than talk on the phone, and 33% said they spend more time on social media than conversing face-to-face.
Americans are also becoming more comfortable with virtual doctor visits.
“We’re recognizing that just coming into your doctor is not necessarily the only way to get health care. There’s virtual visits, there’s online coaching, there are all sorts of ways to actually engage your health and health care that are actually more efficient and effective,” Dr. Hyman says.
When it comes to screen time, 58% don’t track the time they spend on screens.
“The amount of negative stuff coming through our phones, and through social media, and through the news, it’s overwhelming,” Dr. Hyman added. “I think we don’t realize the effect it has on us, and how free and happy we could be if we just took a digital detox.”
Along with that digital detox, experts say it’s important to protect your health information online, even if you use a diet or exercise app.
They also recommend not to let yourself get isolated. It’s important to connect with people, even sometimes going for an old-fashioned in-person doctor’s visit.