A recent survey by Accenture lays bare the sources of health information for non-medicos.
Prestigious websites like WebMD.com and Organizedwisdom.com are favorites of close to half the people (48%)searching for health related information. Pharma websites (11%) as well as informal social networks like Facebook.com (6%) lag behind and do not inspire much hope for trustworthiness.
The widespread availability of electronic peer to peer community venues, where people with common interests gather “virtually” to share experiences, ask questions, or provide emotional support is rapidly becoming important source of information to patients.The most famous example is PatientsLikeMe.com
Most community members are active and the old hands of the group are heavily relied on to weed out business promoters and marketing folks.Although such communities already existed in the era before the world wide web (for example, in bulletin board systems and private networks that enable peer to peer communities), the primary medium for virtual communities today is the internet, in mailing lists, newsgroups or usenet discussion forums, web based discussion forums, and live chatrooms. They often have the function and character of self support groups and are then also called electronic support groups.