When is the Internet a valued communication device for health information in Europe?
ABSTRACT The proliferation of new information and communication technologies such as the Internet has arguably changed the way individuals update the information they use to prevent illness and monitor their health. Compared with other information sources, Internet use reduces information access costs but comes with trade-offs in terms of quality and credibility of information sources. Limited evidence has been gathered on the behavioural consequences of new technologies such as the Internet on individuals' demand for healthcare information. This paper empirically examines the determinants of Internet use to acquire health-related information and the value attached to this information by drawing upon representative data from European Union member states in a 2002 Eurobarometer survey. Credibility and experience appear to influence use of the Internet for health information. Namely, we find that trust in direct physician advice inhibits the use of the Internet for health information purposes while frequency of Internet use makes the Internet appear a more valuable source of information. Controls for respondent characteristics indicate that young, well-educated males living in an urban environment are more likely to frequently use the web for health information.
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ABSTRACT: The intrinsic problem of credence services is that, by definition, even after purchase and consumption experience, the consumer is unable to assess the quality of what was bought. While economic theory defines this category of offerings, it also provides advocates with a way to adequately deal with such services. Existing literature maintains that to increase consumer literacy for credence services, consumers need access to current, unbiased, credible, self-directed information. This commentary furthers the notion that government-sponsored websites and search engines can help consumers gather necessary information to make critical decisions.Journal of Consumer Affairs 09/2010; 44(3):598 - 606. · 1.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Developing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) supported health communication in PHC could contribute to increased health literacy and empowerment, which are foundations for enabling people to increase control over their health, as a way to reduce increasing lifestyle related ill health. However, to increase the likelihood of success of implementing ICT supported health communication, it is essential to conduct a detailed analysis of the setting and context prior to the intervention. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of health communication for health promotion in PHC with emphasis on the implications for a planned ICT supported interactive health channel. METHODS: A qualitative case study, with a multi-methods approach was applied. Field notes, document study and focus groups were used for data collection. Data was then analyzed using qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: Health communication is an integral part of health promotion practice in PHC in this case study. However, there was a lack of consensus among health professionals on what a health promotion approach was, causing discrepancy in approaches and practices of health communication. Two themes emerged from the data analysis: Communicating health and environment for health communication. The themes represented individual and organizational factors that affected health communication practice in PHC and thus need to be taken into consideration in the development of the planned health channel. CONCLUSIONS: Health communication practiced in PHC is individual based, preventive and reactive in nature, as opposed to population based, promotive and proactive in line with a health promotion approach. The most significant challenge in developing an ICT supported health communication channel for health promotion identified in this study, is profiling a health promotion approach in PHC. Addressing health promotion values and principles in the design of ICT supported health communication channel could facilitate health communication for promoting health, i.e. 'health promoting communication'.BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 01/2013; 13(1):17. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Executive summary The purpose of this literature review is to provide an overview of research studies published from 2006 to 2010 in the English language on online health information-seeking behaviour by adults from the perspective of both the health consumer and the health professional. Interest in the internet as a communication tool for health-related information is growing rapidly . The profile of online health consumers can be broadly defined as patients, patients’ friends/relatives, and citizens in general . Health information-seeking behaviour varies depending on type of information sought, reasons for, and experience of, searching . Research shows that women are more likely than men to search for health information [4,5] and online health consumers tend to be more educated, earn more, and have high-speed internet access at home and at work [6,7]. Internet-based health information is accessed from a variety of sources, including websites run by organisations, homepages run by individuals, and online support groups where people actively exchange health information and blogs. As more people use the internet as a source of health information the issue of source credibility and trust in websites becomes important . Research shows that health professionals’ use of the internet to obtain health and medical information has increased [9–11]. Furthermore, in a cross-sectional survey, 80% of physicians reported experience of patients presenting printed internet-sourced health information at visits . Thus, the traditional doctor–patient relationship is being challenged. The internet is a resource available to an increasing number of European citizens but, as with other information sources, differential access and use is apparent both within countries and between countries in the European Union. A lack of research in the European context means that the potential of the internet as a source of health information may not be fully understood. Nevertheless, the internet would appear to provide the ideal medium for the provision of information targeted at the prevention and control of communicable disease for both health consumers and health professionals in Europe.