Who Searches the Internet for Health Information?

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Health Services Research (Impact Factor: 2.78). 07/2006; 41(3 Pt 1):819-36. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00510.x
Source: PubMed


To determine what types of consumers use the Internet as a source of health information.
A survey of consumer use of the Internet for health information conducted during December 2001 and January 2002.
We estimated multivariate regression models to test hypotheses regarding the characteristics of consumers that affect information seeking behavior.
Respondents were randomly sampled from an Internet-enabled panel of over 60,000 households. Our survey was sent to 12,878 panel members, and 69.4 percent of surveyed panel members responded. We collected information about respondents' use of the Internet to search for health information and to communicate about health care with others using the Internet or e-mail within the last year.
Individuals with reported chronic conditions were more likely than those without to search for health information on the Internet. The uninsured, particularly those with a reported chronic condition, were more likely than the privately insured to search. Individuals with longer travel times for their usual source of care were more likely to use the Internet for health-related communication than those with shorter travel times.
Populations with serious health needs and those facing significant barriers in accessing health care in traditional settings turn to the Internet for health information.

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Available from: Sara J Singer
    • "Ideas of patient-driven health care have become central in policy discussions as quantified self-movements continue to gather momentum predicated on people’s ability to diagnose themselves [6,10-13]. A 2006 survey of more than 8000 Americans responding to an offer of free Internet access in exchange for completing occasional surveys, yielded findings that “populations with serious health needs and those facing significant barriers in accessing health care in traditional settings turn to the Internet for health information” [23]. Indeed, people increasingly self-diagnose aspects of their “health” [12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Home care is on the rise, and its delivery is increasingly reliant on an expanding variety of health technologies ranging from computers to telephone "health apps" to social robots. These technologies are most often predicated on expectations that people in their homes (1) can actively interact with these technologies and (2) are willing to submit to the action of the technology in their home. Our purpose is to use an "ability expectations" lens to bring together, and provide some synthesis of, the types of utility and disadvantages that can arise for people with disabilities in relation to home care technology development and use. We searched the academic databases Scopus, Web of Science, EBSCO ALL, IEEE Xplore, and Compendex to collect articles that had the term "home care technology" in the abstract or as a topic (in the case of Web of Science). We also used our background knowledge and related academic literature pertaining to self-diagnosis, health monitoring, companionship, health information gathering, and care. We examined background articles and articles collected through our home care technology search in terms of ability expectations assumed in the presentation of home care technologies, or discussed in relation to home care technologies. While advances in health care support are made possible through emerging technologies, we urge critical examination of such technologies in terms of implications for the rights and dignity of people with diverse abilities. Specifically, we see potential for technologies to result in new forms of exclusion and powerlessness. Ableism influences choices made by funders, policy makers, and the public in the development and use of home health technologies and impacts how people with disabilities are served and how useful health support technologies will be for them. We urge continued critical examination of technology development and use according to ability expectations, and we recommend increasing incorporation of participatory design processes to counteract potential for health support technology to render people with disabilities technologically excluded and powerless.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Medical Internet Research
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    • "Studies have shown that the elderly perform more poorly than younger people in operating the Internet browser, finding search machines and navigating the Internet (van Deursen et al., 2010). Moreover, health usually deteriorates with age, so age might be an important motivation for seeking health related information and engaging in health related discussions (Bundorf et al., 2006). "

    Full-text · Chapter · Apr 2014
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    • "Most people of all ages now have access to the Internet and to online alternatives for decision making. It is common to go online to seek not only information about medical or psychological treatments, but also help and support from people who are facing a similar situation (c.f) [1-4]. The Internet has also become an efficient alternative to traditional health care and treatment. "
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    ABSTRACT: Departing from the widespread use of the internet in modern society and the emerging use of web applications in healthcare this project captures persons' needs and expectations in order to develop highly usable web recourses. The purpose of this paper is to outline a multi-case research project focused on the development and evaluation of person-centred web-based support for people with long-term illness. To support the underlying idea to move beyond the illness, we approach the development of web support from the perspective of the emergent area of person-centred care. The project aims to contribute to the ongoing development of web-based supports in health care and to the emerging field of person-centred care.Methods/designThe research design uses a meta-analytical approach through its focus on synthesizing experiences from four Swedish regional and national cases of design and use of web-based support in long-term illness. The cases include children (bladder dysfunction and urogenital malformation), young adults (living close to persons with mental illness), and two different cases of adults (women with breast cancer and childbearing women with type 1 diabetes). All of the cases are ongoing, though in different stages of design, implementation, and analysis. This, we argue, will lead to a synthesis of results on a meta-level not yet described. To allow valid comparisons between the four cases we explore and problematize them in relation to four main aspects: 1) The use of people's experiences and needs; 2) The role of use of theories in the design of person-centred web-based supports; 3) The evaluation of the effects of health outcomes for the informants involved and 4) The development of a generic person-centred model for learning and social support for people with long-term illness and their significant others. Person-centred web-based support is a new area and few studies focus on how web-based interventions can contribute to the development of person-centred care. In summary, the main intention of the project outlined here is to contribute with both a synthesis of results on meta-level from four cases and a substantial contribution to the field person-centred care.
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