Edelman Health Barometer 2011 – Doctor most credible source of health information

As discussed by my colleague Jane Sarasohn-Kahn (@healthythinker) in Health is a team sport: the 2011 Edelman Health Barometer | Health Populi, the 2011 Edelman Health Barometer is out.

There are some useful infographics which are published elsewhere, and the overall deck is below. Looking through the lens of potential use of social media in health care delivery, I would point people to slide 19, which lists “Doctor” as the most credible person from which health information could come from, at 88%. This contrasts with “Someone living with a disease or condition” which is at 65%.

There’s also data, if you read carefully, that show that “social health engagement,” as much as we believe is a huge thing, isn’t really that huge, yet.

In 2006, Edelman created quite a bit of buzz when it found that “People like me” were the most trusted, now this is no longer the case. Many, including me, assumed that this extended to health care.

I believe that the questions that Edelman asks in this very valuable yearly assessment change from year to year, so these may not be apples-apples comparisons.

I think we thought 5 years ago that health care would become dominantly peer-to-peer, the data seems to point to the idea that it’s peer-peer-health-professionals-peer-peer. This post is less to dispute who is most trusted/credible, than to support the role of the health professions in being where patients are. Everyone is necessary.

This data supports what I found from experts like Susannah Fox (@susannahfox) and that I presented at “Social Media in Care Delivery Technology Demo Day,” whose video keynote is now online.


this is one of the best slidedecks I’ve seen for a comprehensive overview– so who and what constitutes the trusted sources for information if people like me don’t? surely not the drug companies on ads via tv/net or the big hospital mayo clinic blogs which although great have a careful bias… where is this going to come from???

Dear Kayt,

Glad you liked it! My takeaway based on my experience in what gets results is that the relationship with health care professionals PLUS people like you are important. Those folks still rate at 65% on this survey, and I bet it probably matches what you see in your practice – after all, your patients still do ask for your support.

Take a look at this previous post of mine and the awesome comment at the bottom from Jen Dyer, MD aka @endogoddess – I think she says it really well (as she always does):


Thanks as always for stopping by!


Ted Eytan, MD