Seeking Medical Information Using Mobile Apps and the Internet: Are Family Caregivers Different from the General Public?
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Family caregivers play an important role to care cancer patients since they exchange medical information with health care providers. However, relatively little is known about how family caregivers seek medical information using mobile apps and the Internet. We examined factors associated with medical information seeking by using mobile apps and the Internet among family caregivers and the general public using data from the 2014 Health Information National Trends Survey 4 Cycle 1. The study sample consisted of 2425 family caregivers and 1252 non-family caregivers (the general public). Guided by Comprehensive Model of Information Seeking (CMIS), we examined related factors’ impact on two outcome variables for medical information seeking: mobile apps use and Internet use with multivariate logistic regression analyses. We found that online medical information seeking is different between family caregivers and the general public. Overall, the use of the Internet for medical information seeking is more common among family caregivers, while the use of mobile apps is less common among family caregivers compared with the general public. Married family caregivers were less likely to use mobile apps, while family caregivers who would trust cancer information were more likely to use the Internet for medical information seeking as compared to the general public. Medical information seeking behavior among family caregivers can be an important predictor of both their health and the health of their cancer patients. Future research should explore the low usage of mobile health applications among family caregiver population.
KeywordsOnline medical information seeking Mobile health Family caregivers Online cancer information seeking
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