185724 Use of internet to access health information: Differences by health status

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 12:45 PM

Magda Shaheen, MD, PhD, MPH , Ophthalmology, Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science, Lynwood, CA
James Smith, MD , Charles R Drew University of Medicine & Science, Lynwood, CA
Senait Teklehaimanot, MPH , Family Medicine, Charles R Drew University of Medicine & Science, Lynwood, CA
Richard Baker, MD , Ophthalmology, Charles R Drew University of Medicine & Science, Lynwood, CA
Purpose: To explore the internet use for health information by self perceived health status among patients attending community clinics in LA.

Methods: cross-sectional survey with face-to-face interview of a systematic sample of 242 patients who used internet to access health information.

Results: Of the 242 users, 65% were female, 39% were African American and 35% were white, their median age was 45 years, 48% had income $<25,000, and 34% reported fair/poor health status. Most subjects reported that internet had improved their health information (87%). Most subjects looked for information related to disease/treatment (91%), believed information found was useful (90%), helpful (97%), and helped in making health related decisions (90%). Compared to those with excellent/good health, those with fair/poor health significantly used the internet less frequent (59% vs. 66%); reported that online information had major impact on their health care (59%, vs. 45%), changed their perception about diet/exercise/stress management (73% vs. 57%), and affected the way they cope with their health condition (62% vs. 45%). They tend to feel overwhelmed by the amount of online information (30% vs. 17%), confused (25% vs. 12%) and frustrated by the lack of information or inability to find it (22% vs. 10%).

Conclusions: Most users valued the usefulness of the internet in improving health information and health related decision-making. Health professionals and web developers should interact to have online health information available to patients and especially sicker patients in simple, easy to use form and train/educate them on how to search for online health information.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to: 1. know about the perception of patients in community clinics about online health information. 2. Identify issues related to the online health information among patients with fair/poor health status compared to those with excellent/good health status

Keywords: Health Information, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked in planning and implementation of the survey, analyzed the data, and write the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.