Objectives: Health information consumers look to the Internet to find answers to questions about their health or that of a loved one. We conducted a study to identify where individuals find online health information, how they use it, and what they think is missing. Results from this study are being used to make recommendations of how to improve services to this population.
Methods: The University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries conducted a cross-sectional study of adults in August 2016. The survey instrument was adapted from the eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS) and the Patient Activation Measure (PAM-13), administered electronically on tablets at the Minnesota State Fair, and took approximately six minutes to complete. Convenience sampling yielded a total of 281 participants. Analysis of descriptive statistics and statistics to explore relationships between variables were conducted using R, and a qualitative analysis of one survey item was conducted using NVivo.
Results/Conclusion: Preliminary results show that a majority of participants use a search engine, such as Google, WebMD, or the Mayo Clinic website, to locate online health information. While most respondents were confident in their ability to evaluate the health resources they find online, only half identified indicators of quality health information. This result was confounded by the high number of participants who were health providers. Participants identified personalization of and interactivity with health websites as highly desirable.
Theis-Mahon, Nicole; Hunt, Shanda; Forbes, Nora.
My Doctor Said What!?: identifying and assessing online health information resources.
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