Survey: Digital dominates for the health conscious


Do you see your doctor virtually on a smartphone or tablet? If the answer is yes, you're not alone.

According to a Parade-Cleveland Clinic Healthy Now survey, many Americans are turning to technology for everything from appointment scheduling to exercise inspiration.

Results show 44% of surveyed adults followed health and fitness advice from social media.   

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, head of strategy and Innovation for the Center for Functional Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, connecting online has both pros and cons. 

"There can be a lot of false health claims out there; there can be a lot of issues, but also be very inspiring," he said. "You'll see people's stories of them changing their diet, losing weight, getting healthy, so, it's an awesome way to inspire and connect people." 

Results also show that 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.

According to the survey, Americans are becoming more comfortable with virtual doctor visits, too. 

"We're recognizing that just coming into your doctor is not necessarily the only way to get healthcare," said Hyman. "There are virtual visits; there's online coaching; there are all sorts of ways to actually engage with your health and health care that are actually more efficient and more effective." 

When it comes to screen time, 58% don't track the time they spend on screens, but Hyman said too many screens can create stress. 

"The amount of negative stuff coming through our phones, and through social media, and through the news is overwhelming," he said. "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." 

Hyman believes the best thing people can do when it comes to the digital world is to use common sense. 

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. He encourages people to contact a health professional if they're concerned or confused about online medical or wellness advice.