Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 143, Issue 11, pp 2291–2299 | Cite as

eHealth literacy, Internet and eHealth service usage: a survey among cancer patients and their relatives

  • Nikolaus Halwas
  • Lena Griebel
  • Jutta HuebnerEmail author
Original Article – Clinical Oncology



The aim of our study was to investigate Internet and eHealth usage, with respect to eHealth literacy, by cancer patients and their relatives.

Patients and methods

Using a standardized questionnaire we asked patients who attended lectures on complementary medicine in 2016.


We received 142 questionnaires. The frequency of general Internet usage was directly associated with younger age and better Internet connection. Younger participants were not only more confident in allocating health-related Internet information into reliable or unreliable facts, but also more confident and capable of gaining medical knowledge through eHealth services. A regular use of eHealth services facilitated the decision-making process. Reading ability was associated with a better understanding regarding eHealth offers.


In a modern health care system, emphasis should be on skills contributing to eHealth literacy among patients to improve their ability to profit from eHealth offers and improve health care.


eHealth literacy eHealth service Internet Cancer Patient information 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

The study has a positive vote of the ethics committee at the University Hospital of the Friedrich Schiller University at Jena (Number: 5153-05/17).

Informed consent

Informed consent was given by the participants by filling in the questionnaire.


There was no funding for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medizinische Klinik II, Hämatologie und Internistische OnkologieUniversitätsklinikum JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Chair of Medical InformaticsFriedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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