Relationship of Internet health information use with patient behavior and self-efficacy: experiences 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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