Article

Relationship of Internet health information use with patient behavior and self-efficacy: experience of newly diagnosed cancer patients who contact the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service

Temple University Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, USA.
Journal of Health Communication (Impact Factor: 1.61). 04/2006; 11(2):219-36. DOI: 10.1080/10810730500526794
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examines the relationship of Internet health information use with patient behavior and self-efficacy among 498 newly diagnosed cancer patients. Subjects were classified by types of Internet use: direct use (used Internet health information themselves), indirect use (used information accessed by friends or family), and non-use (never accessing Internet information). Subjects were recruited from callers of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service, Atlantic Region. They were classified by type of Internet use at enrollment and interviewed by telephone after 8 weeks. There were significant relationships among Internet use and key study variables: subject characteristics, patient task behavior, and self-efficacy. Subjects' Internet use changed significantly from enrollment to 8 week follow-up; 19% of nonusers and indirect users moved to a higher level of Internet use. Significant relationships also were found among Internet use and perceived patient-provider relationship, question asking, and treatment compliance. Finally, Internet use was also significantly associated with self-efficacy variables (confidence in actively participating in treatment decisions, asking physicians questions, and sharing feelings of concern). The results of this study show that patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer perceive the Internet as a powerful tool, both for acquiring information and for enhancing confidence to make informed decisions.

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    • "Given this expansive, growing use of the Internet among the general adult population, a host of health related commercial and research websites have been developed (Impicciatore, Pandolfini, Casella, & Bonati, 1997). Research has shown that the Internet may empower patients to improve their health behaviors and to take a more active role in their health care (Bass et al., 2006). Web-based educational interventions may represent an important way to educate relevant populations about critical health issues and to spur the uptake of recommended disease prevention behaviors. "
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    • "Is education associated with pre-clinic and/or in-clinic parental information seeking? There is evidence for a positive association between pre-clinic and in-clinic information seeking (Bass et al., 2006). Alternatively, patients may not seek info because they lack knowledge, and thus the language, with which to pursue their interests (Korsch, Gozzi, & Francis, 1968). "
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    • "Little empirical research has been conducted to examine the role of the Internet in patients' preferences for medical decision making [13]. A majority of previous studies have used small convenience samples and are cross-sectional (which precludes any evaluation of causality) [19] [14]. Other studies have mainly focused on the general population, not cancer patients [10] [24]. "
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