Patients’ use of the internet for medical information
- 387 Downloads
OBJECTIVES: To determine the percentage of patients enrolled in a primary care practice who use the Internet for health information, to describe the types of information sought, to evaluate patients’ perceptions of the quality of this information, and to determine if patients who use the Internet for health information discuss this with their doctors.
DESIGN: Self-administered mailed survey.
SETTING: Patients from a primary care internal medicine private practice.
PARTICIPANTS: Randomly selected patients (N=1,000) were mailed a confidential survey between December 1999 and March 2000. The response rate was 56.2%.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Of the 512 patients who returned the survey, 53.5% (274) stated that they used the Internet for medical information. Those using the Internet for medical information were more educated (P<.001) and had higher incomes (P<.001). Respondents used the Internet for information on a broad range of medical topics. Sixty percent felt that the information on the Internet was the “same as” or “better than” information from their doctors. Of those using the Internet for health information, 59% did not discuss this information with their doctor. Neither gender, education level, nor age less than 60 years was associated with patients sharing their Web searches with their physicians. However, patients who discussed this information with their doctors rated the quality of information higher than those who did not share this information with their providers.
CONCLUSIONS: Primary care providers should recognize that patients are using the World Wide Web as a source of medical and health information and should be prepared to offer suggestions for Web-based health resources and to assist patients in evaluating the quality of medical information available on the Internet.
Key wordsInternet primary care health information
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Pew Internet and American Life Project. The online health care revolution: how the Web helps Americans take better care of themselves. Available at http://www.pewinternet.org. Accessed January 17, 2001.Google Scholar
- 2.Cyberatlas. The mess known as online healthcare. http://cyberatlas.internet.com/big_picture/demographics/article/0,1323,5971_379231,00.html. Accessed June 18, 2000.Google Scholar
- 3.Eysenbach G, Sa ER, Diepgen TL. Shopping around the Internet today and tomorrow: towards the millennium of cybermedicine. BMJ. 1999;319: Available at:http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/319/7220/1294. Accessed May 28, 2000.Google Scholar
- 5.Mandl K, Feit S, Pena B, Kohane I. Growth and determinants of access in patient e-mail and Internet use. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000;5:508–11.Google Scholar
- 8.http://www.hon.ch/. Accessed August 25, 2000.Google Scholar
- 9.http://www.hon.ch/Library/PapersHON/mednet_survey_mai98.html. Accessed August 25, 2000.Google Scholar
- 10.http://www.hon.ch/Survey/method.html. Accessed August 25, 2000.Google Scholar
- 11.http://www.hon.ch/cgi-bin/Survey/surv_en5.pl?stat. Accessed August 25, 2000.Google Scholar
- 12.Pandolfini C, Impicciatore P, Bonati M. Parents on the web: risks for quality management of cough in children. Pediatrics. 2000 Jan;105(1):e1.Google Scholar
- 21.Health on the Net Foundation—HON code of conduct. (HONcode) for medical and health Web sites. Available at: http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/conduct. Accessed May 20, 2000.Google Scholar
- 24.Jones J. Development of a self-assessment method for patients to evaluate health information on the Internet. Proc AMIA Symp. 1999:540–4.Google Scholar
- 26.http://www.ihealthcoalition.org. Accessed February 26, 2001.Google Scholar
- 27.http://www.hiethics.org. Accessed February 26, 2001.Google Scholar