Patient Perceptions and Current Trends in Internet Use by Orthopedic Outpatients
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Many studies have highlighted concerns about the completeness and quality of information found online and how this may affect patients’ education about their medical problems. One aspect of internet usage that has received less attention in the literature, however, is patient perception of the information that is gathered online, and how patients use it related to their musculoskeletal care.
The objective of the study is to utilize a cross-sectional study design to describe internet usage and patient perceptions of orthopedic online information and to identify differences in usage patterns.
One thousand two hundred ninety-six questionnaires were distributed to consecutive patients at orthopedic outpatient clinics which consisted of questions pertaining to patients’ internet use. Basic demographic data were collected, and subgroup analyses were performed to examine the effect of three variables (age, gender, and clinic type) on various outcomes.
84.9% of patients reported access to the internet. Of patients with internet access, 64.7% reported using the internet for obtaining orthopedic information. 43.1% of the respondents who searched for orthopedic information rated it as “very useful,” 56.3% found it “somewhat useful,” and 0.6% found it “not at all useful”. Younger patients were more likely to have used the internet for health and orthopedic information and to have found this information either very or somewhat useful. Males were more likely to have found the internet information very useful. Overall, only 33.7% of patients who researched their current orthopedic complaint accessed the institutional website for information.
A large proportion of patients use the internet to research orthopedic information and most patients, especially younger males, find the information useful.
KeywordsInternet Health information Perception
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
M. Tyrrell Burrus, MD; Brian C. Werner, MD; James S. Starman, MD; Gregory M. Kurkis, MD; Jonathan M. Pierre, BS have declared that they have no conflict of interest. Joseph M. Hart, PhD reports other from Elsevier and Springbok, Inc., and grants from Genzyme, outside the work. David R. Diduch, MD reports grants from Aesculap/B. Braun, Genzyme and Zimmer, personal fees from Depuy-Mitek, other from Smith and Nephew and Springer, outside the work.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008 (5).
Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
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