WebWatch 2012 reveals health concerns of UK web users

...obesity and weight loss, not cancer or cosmetic surgery!

Once a year, we use Hitwise data to get some insight into how UK web users search the web when they are looking for health related information or visiting healthcare web sites.

The Private Healthcare UK report, "Healthcare WebWatch 2012" is the outcome of this research. It provides a snapshot of the health issues that UK web users are concerned about and the health and medical sites that the UK's web users are visiting.

It also provides insight into the private healthcare websites, health insurance company websites and cosmetic surgery sites that attract the most users.

So what are the biggest health concerns in the UK?

Obesity and weight loss are the greatest concerns.

Brits are more concerned with excess weight and how to lose it than any other health issue!

Our study found that 21 of the top 50 health-related searches concerned obesity, dieting, weight loss or getting fit. It demonstrates the increasing problem that the UK faces in dealing with obesity, and how more and more people are seeking advice and guidance over the internet; but it's encouraging to see that people are making positive moves towards self-help through the matching activity related to exploring and improving fitness levels.

Most frequently searched for disease

The specific phrases - "chicken pox", "shingles" and "diabetes symptoms" - were the most common disease/condition related terms typed into a search engine by people seeking health information.

Bear in mind that we're not saying that these diseases dominate health related searches...we're just saying that these specific disease-related phrases come out top.

Most frequently visited healthcare websites

Including commercial sites, the top five most visited healthcare websites are:

  1. NHS Choices
  2. Boots
  3. Weight Watchers
  4. Patient UK

NHS Direct ranks 16th, below brands such as Holland & Barrett, BUPA and Specsavers.

Cosmetic surgery searches

After "liposuction", the most popular cosmetic procedure searches were for "breast implants", "laser hair removal" and "breast enlargement".

Surprisingly, the most common search terms for cosmetic surgery were not procedures but brand names "Transform", "Harley Medical Group" and "MYA", followed by "Cosmetic Surgery" and in fifth place "liposuction".

Who visits healthcare websites?

Health and medical websites attracted a significantly greater proportion of female visitors (52.9%) than websites in general (47.1%). 40.4% of visits to health and medical websites are made by people who are over 45.

Private healthcare company websites

The report examines traffic to company websites in the private healthcare sector:

  • Spire Healthcare is the market leader in the private hospital sector in terms of website visits
  • Aviva was the leading health insurance company website
  • The Harley Medical Group was the most visited cosmetic surgery company website

Download the full WebWatch report to learn more...

Some background to the report...

This is the fourth annual Healthcare Web Watch survey that we have published. The report is compiled using data from Experian Hitwise, based on a pre-defined Health and Medical market sector consisting of 1,769 UK based websites. The data used in the study was collected in the three months to 21st April 2012.


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WebWatch 2012 reveals health concerns of UK web users

About the author

Keith Pollard is Executive chairman of LaingBuisson International Limited, an online publisher in the healthcare sector that operates market-leading web portals such as Private Healthcare UK and LaingBuisson International Limited is also active in the online medical travel sector through Treatment Abroad, International Medical Travel Journal and DoctorInternet, the Arabic medical tourism portal. View for my full profile.

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