Use and perception of Internet for health related purposes in Germany: results of a national survey
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Patient empowerment through the Internet is seen as a chance to improve patient-physician communication. Studies on the prevalence of Internet use for health related purposes and on how patients perceive those technologies are still rare. We therefore studied perception of and trends in health related Internet use.
As part of a European survey 1.000 German individuals were interviewed using a computer-based telephone interview (CATI: Gabler-Häder-Design, random-digit-dialing, last birthday method) in October 2005. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were applied for elaborating characteristics of the health Internet users.
Internet use in general (72.3%) and for health related purposes (53.1%) is already quite high. Its importance, relative to other sources of health related information, was rated rather low. Younger citizens and people with paid work used the Internet more often for health related purposes, nevertheless, assessing it as less important for health related purposes than their counterparts.
Despite booming of Internet use in Germany, consumers still value and use more the traditional sources of health information/communication with their doctors. Followup studies with a subsequent survey in 2007 will be pursued.
Keywords:Use of internet Health care information Nationwide telephone survey eHealth trends
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