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Are Parents Getting it Right? A Survey of Parents' Internet Use for Children's Health Care Information.

Pehora C, Gajaria N, Stoute M, Fracassa S, Serebale-O'Sullivan R, Matava CT - Interact J Med Res (2015)

Bottom Line: The use of the Internet to search for medical and health-related information is increasing and associated with concerns around quality and safety.Fifty percent of respondents reported that they cross-checked information found on the internet with a family physician.Health care providers should begin to focus on improving access to safe, accurate, and reliable information through various modalities including education, designing for multiplatform, and better search engine optimization.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: The Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Toronto, ON, Canada.

ABSTRACT

Background: The use of the Internet to search for medical and health-related information is increasing and associated with concerns around quality and safety.

Objective: We investigated the current use and perceptions on reliable websites for children's health information by parents.

Methods: Following institutional ethics approval, we conducted a survey of parents/guardians of children presenting for day surgery. A 20-item survey instrument developed and tested by the investigators was administered.

Results: Ninety-eight percent of respondents reported that they used the Internet to search for information about their child's health. Many respondents reported beginning their search at public search engines (80%); less than 20% reported starting their search at university/hospital-based websites. Common conditions such as colds/flu, skin conditions and fever were the most frequently searched, and unique conditions directly affecting the child were second. Despite low usage levels of university/hospital-based websites for health information, the majority of respondents (74%) regarded these as providing safe, accurate, and reliable information. In contrast, only 24% of respondents regarded public search engines as providing safe and reliable information. Fifty percent of respondents reported that they cross-checked information found on the internet with a family physician.

Conclusions: An unprecedented majority of parents and guardians are using the Internet for their child's health information. Of concern is that parents and guardians are currently not using reliable and safe sources of information. Health care providers should begin to focus on improving access to safe, accurate, and reliable information through various modalities including education, designing for multiplatform, and better search engine optimization.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Frequency of Internet use for health related information.
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figure2: Frequency of Internet use for health related information.

Mentions: Almost all parents (143, 97.9%) reported using the Internet to search for health information regarding their child. Parents reported being most familiar with public search engines as a source of health information (117, 80.1%) and least familiar with child-specific websites run by healthcare professionals (39, 26.7%) (Figure 1). Forty-three percent of respondents reported that they searched for health information regarding their child frequently, between a few times a month to every day (Figure 2). Parents reported using laptop computers, desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets in almost equal proportions (90, 61.6%; 77, 52.7%; 67, 45.9%; and 63, 43.2%, respectively). Only 34.9% of respondents (51) reported that they knew our facility had a website dedicated to information on children’s health.


Are Parents Getting it Right? A Survey of Parents' Internet Use for Children's Health Care Information.

Pehora C, Gajaria N, Stoute M, Fracassa S, Serebale-O'Sullivan R, Matava CT - Interact J Med Res (2015)

Frequency of Internet use for health related information.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4526953&req=5

figure2: Frequency of Internet use for health related information.
Mentions: Almost all parents (143, 97.9%) reported using the Internet to search for health information regarding their child. Parents reported being most familiar with public search engines as a source of health information (117, 80.1%) and least familiar with child-specific websites run by healthcare professionals (39, 26.7%) (Figure 1). Forty-three percent of respondents reported that they searched for health information regarding their child frequently, between a few times a month to every day (Figure 2). Parents reported using laptop computers, desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets in almost equal proportions (90, 61.6%; 77, 52.7%; 67, 45.9%; and 63, 43.2%, respectively). Only 34.9% of respondents (51) reported that they knew our facility had a website dedicated to information on children’s health.

Bottom Line: The use of the Internet to search for medical and health-related information is increasing and associated with concerns around quality and safety.Fifty percent of respondents reported that they cross-checked information found on the internet with a family physician.Health care providers should begin to focus on improving access to safe, accurate, and reliable information through various modalities including education, designing for multiplatform, and better search engine optimization.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: The Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Toronto, ON, Canada.

ABSTRACT

Background: The use of the Internet to search for medical and health-related information is increasing and associated with concerns around quality and safety.

Objective: We investigated the current use and perceptions on reliable websites for children's health information by parents.

Methods: Following institutional ethics approval, we conducted a survey of parents/guardians of children presenting for day surgery. A 20-item survey instrument developed and tested by the investigators was administered.

Results: Ninety-eight percent of respondents reported that they used the Internet to search for information about their child's health. Many respondents reported beginning their search at public search engines (80%); less than 20% reported starting their search at university/hospital-based websites. Common conditions such as colds/flu, skin conditions and fever were the most frequently searched, and unique conditions directly affecting the child were second. Despite low usage levels of university/hospital-based websites for health information, the majority of respondents (74%) regarded these as providing safe, accurate, and reliable information. In contrast, only 24% of respondents regarded public search engines as providing safe and reliable information. Fifty percent of respondents reported that they cross-checked information found on the internet with a family physician.

Conclusions: An unprecedented majority of parents and guardians are using the Internet for their child's health information. Of concern is that parents and guardians are currently not using reliable and safe sources of information. Health care providers should begin to focus on improving access to safe, accurate, and reliable information through various modalities including education, designing for multiplatform, and better search engine optimization.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus