According to a [removed]survey[/removed] from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, 54.7% of respondents are using Aetna health care information sites to search for material on dental health. Aetna is enhancing its online content to address consumers’ oral health information needs.

The survey, conducted from May 2006 to January 2007, included 309 participants and was funded by a grant from the Columbia University Center for Advanced Information Management, a center for advanced technology supported by the New York State Foundation for science, technology, and innovation.

“The Internet has become one of the most important places for the public to find health information, particularly health care information Web sites like Aetna’s,” said David A. Albert, DDS, MPH. “Our study found that all age groups, including retirees, seek health information. This creates an opportunity to reach out and educate this audience on how that information relates to their oral health, as well as change their attitudes and behavior towards various dental health related topics.”

The results of the survey showed that 95.1% of respondents search the Internet for medical information; 90.9% of respondents who smoke use the Internet for medical information; and 33% are interested in obtaining medical and dental health information from the Internet.

“Our goal is to use this information to broaden consumers’ knowledge and behaviors towards various dental health topics that can positively influence their overall health,” said Alan Hirschberg, head of Aetna Dental Products and Services. “Our relationship with Columbia has resulted in studies that have made major breakthroughs in how we view dental care. It’s also helping us shape online content that better meets consumer needs in a way that’s easy to understand.”

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