ABSTRACT: The authors examined online support group members' reliance on their Internet community and other online and offline health resources as they prepare for a scheduled medical appointment. Adult members of an online support group (N = 505) with an upcoming medical appointment completed an online questionnaire that included measures of illness perceptions, control preference, trust in the physician, and eHealth literacy; a checklist of actions one could take to acquire health information; and demographic questions. A factor analysis identified 4 types of information seeking: reliance on the online support group, use of other online health resources, use of offline health resources, and personal network contacts. Previsit information seeking on the Internet was extensive and typically augmented with offline information. Use of online health resources was highest among those who believed they had control over their illness, who attributed many symptoms and negative emotions to it, and who were more eHealth literate. Reliance on the online support group was highest among those who believed they had personal control over their illness, expected their condition to persist, and attributed negative emotions to it. Trust in the physician and preferences for involvement in decision making were unrelated to online information seeking. Most respondents intended to ask their physician questions and request clinical resources based on online information.
Journal of Health Communication 05/2012; 17(8):960-78. · 1.61 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To examine the prevalence and predictors of patients' post-appointment online health information-seeking and the reasons behind their information searches.
Survey of 274 Internet support community members who had been seen by a physician within 30 days. The questionnaire included measures of trust in the physician, health worries, changes in amount of worrying following the visit, online health information-seeking, and standard demographic and visit characteristics.
A majority of respondents (68%) went online in search of information after their visits. In a logistic regression analysis, going online was associated with lower trust (P=.002), greater worrying (P=.049), and becoming more (P=.024) or less worried (P=.05) by the visit. Among those who went online, the most common reasons for doing so were sheer curiosity (71%) and disappointment with some aspect of the physician's behavior (32%).
Patients in this online forum routinely turned to the Internet after their medical visits, but were especially likely to do so when trust in the physician was low, anxieties were high, and the visit altered (for better or worse) their anxiety levels.
Since many patients seek online information after their appointments, physicians should suggest credible websites suited to the circumstances of each patient.
Patient Education and Counseling 02/2011; 85(3):525-8. · 2.31 Impact Factor
Journal of Health Communication.