Date: 03 Apr 2014

Adolescents with chronic disease and use of technology for receipt of information regarding health and disease management

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Adolescents with chronic disease (ACD) use Internet resources from both vetted and non-vetted sources to make medical decisions. Technology offers much promise in engaging ACD regarding disease management-related behaviors and health decisions but further study and guidance is needed. With widespread use of the Internet, there are concerns regarding how ACD users may access Internet information about health and how such technology use may affect the patient-physician relationship. This study provides empirical evidence about ACD use of technology-sourced health information for medical decision-making and on the relationship between technology use and patient-physician relationships. Empirical data regarding health and technology were collected from ACD using self-report surveys. Participants were asked to evaluate a new drug/device for treatment of their disease with access to Internet resources and their Internet use was evaluated. Fifty-eight ACD participated and reported accessing the Internet 7 days (median) per week, with 67 % reporting access to social networking sites. Eighty-three percent ACD accessed both vetted and non-vetted Internet sources when seeking information to decide whether to use a new medication/device. Eighty-two percent of ACD indicated that they would use Facebook to receive information about disease management. Females and adult ACD were more likely than counterparts to express willingness to discuss personal health experiences and disease-related information on Facebook. Patient-physician relationships did not appear to be related to technology use.