Where Does the Consumer Look for Medical Advice?


“Who would you look to for information to help you make decisions about your medical treatment?”

That question was asked in a nationwide survey, “Public Opinion of Patient Safety Issues,” conducted for the National Patient Safety Foundation at the American Medical Association.

Surprisingly, consumers said that—after their personal doctor—they would turn to family and friends before seeking advice from nurses, pharmacists, or other health care professionals. Only a fraction would look to health insurance plans or consumer groups for information.

The take-home messages are:

  • Consumers will continue to decide who they turn to for advice.
  • Consumers need to be convinced to seek information from more qualified sources than family and friends.
  • Consumers must see your DTC and patient information materials as reliable, dependable information—not advertising.