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Users of Internet health information: differences by health status.

Houston TK, Allison JJ - J. Med. Internet Res. (2002 Apr-Nov)

Bottom Line: To explore use of Internet health information among those who were sicker (fair/poor general health status) compared with those reported being healthier.Health care professionals should be aware that their sicker patients are more likely to ask them about information they found online.Physicians, public health professionals, and eHealth developers should work together to educate patients about searching for health information online and to provide tools for them to navigate to the highest quality information.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. tkhouston@uabmc.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Millions of consumers have accessed health information online. However, little is known about their health status.

Objective: To explore use of Internet health information among those who were sicker (fair/poor general health status) compared with those reported being healthier.

Methods: A national, random-digit telephone survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project identified 521 Internet users who go online for health care information. Our primary independent variable was general health status rated as excellent, good, fair, or poor. Patterns of Internet use, and types of information searched were assessed.

Results: Among the 521 users, 64% were female, most (87%) were white, and median age was 42 years. Most individuals indicated that they learned something new online (81%) and indicated that they believe most information on the Internet (52%). Compared with those with excellent/good health, those with fair/poor health (N = 59) were relative newcomers to the Internet but tended to use the Internet more frequently, were more likely to use online chats, were less likely to search for someone other than themselves, and were more likely to talk about the new information with their physician (odds ratio 3.3 [95% confidence interval 1.8-6.3]), after adjustment for age, education and income.

Conclusions: Health care professionals should be aware that their sicker patients are more likely to ask them about information they found online. Physicians, public health professionals, and eHealth developers should work together to educate patients about searching for health information online and to provide tools for them to navigate to the highest quality information.

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Health status and reported impact of online health information among 520 Internet health information users
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Related In: Results  -  Collection


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figure3: Health status and reported impact of online health information among 520 Internet health information users

Mentions: Most individuals (N = 420 [81%]) indicated that they "learned something new" the last time they went online (Figure 3). This report of increased knowledge did not seem to vary by health status. Health status was not related to the self-reported usefulness of the Internet health information. However, the majority (52%) of the 59 individuals with fair/poor health status reported later talk to a doctor or nurse about the Internet health information, whereas less than a third of those with higher health status reported talking to a doctor or nurse. After adjustment for age, gender, and education, those with fair/poor health were considerably more likely to communicate with a health care provider (OR 3.3 [95% CI, 1.8-6.3]) compared with those with excellent health (Table 2).


Users of Internet health information: differences by health status.

Houston TK, Allison JJ - J. Med. Internet Res. (2002 Apr-Nov)

Health status and reported impact of online health information among 520 Internet health information users
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1761934&req=5

figure3: Health status and reported impact of online health information among 520 Internet health information users
Mentions: Most individuals (N = 420 [81%]) indicated that they "learned something new" the last time they went online (Figure 3). This report of increased knowledge did not seem to vary by health status. Health status was not related to the self-reported usefulness of the Internet health information. However, the majority (52%) of the 59 individuals with fair/poor health status reported later talk to a doctor or nurse about the Internet health information, whereas less than a third of those with higher health status reported talking to a doctor or nurse. After adjustment for age, gender, and education, those with fair/poor health were considerably more likely to communicate with a health care provider (OR 3.3 [95% CI, 1.8-6.3]) compared with those with excellent health (Table 2).

Bottom Line: To explore use of Internet health information among those who were sicker (fair/poor general health status) compared with those reported being healthier.Health care professionals should be aware that their sicker patients are more likely to ask them about information they found online.Physicians, public health professionals, and eHealth developers should work together to educate patients about searching for health information online and to provide tools for them to navigate to the highest quality information.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. tkhouston@uabmc.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Millions of consumers have accessed health information online. However, little is known about their health status.

Objective: To explore use of Internet health information among those who were sicker (fair/poor general health status) compared with those reported being healthier.

Methods: A national, random-digit telephone survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project identified 521 Internet users who go online for health care information. Our primary independent variable was general health status rated as excellent, good, fair, or poor. Patterns of Internet use, and types of information searched were assessed.

Results: Among the 521 users, 64% were female, most (87%) were white, and median age was 42 years. Most individuals indicated that they learned something new online (81%) and indicated that they believe most information on the Internet (52%). Compared with those with excellent/good health, those with fair/poor health (N = 59) were relative newcomers to the Internet but tended to use the Internet more frequently, were more likely to use online chats, were less likely to search for someone other than themselves, and were more likely to talk about the new information with their physician (odds ratio 3.3 [95% confidence interval 1.8-6.3]), after adjustment for age, education and income.

Conclusions: Health care professionals should be aware that their sicker patients are more likely to ask them about information they found online. Physicians, public health professionals, and eHealth developers should work together to educate patients about searching for health information online and to provide tools for them to navigate to the highest quality information.

Show MeSH