226405 Is health information seeking and use associated with race and ethnicity?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ronica N. Rooks, PhD , Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO
Jacqueline Wiltshire, PhD, MPH , Institute of Public Health, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL
Keith Elder, PhD, MPH, MPA , Health Services Administration, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Rhonda Belue, PhD , Health Policy and Administration, Penn State University, University Park, PA
Lisa C. Gary, PhD , Department of Health Care Organization & Policy, Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Background: Increasing numbers of adults are seeking health information (HI) from sources other than their doctors. The theory of uncertainty management suggests that patients reduce health care uncertainty by increasing patient understanding about the etiology of disease or treatment options, improving patient-doctor communication and enhancing knowledge of disease self-management through HI seeking. Additionally, research on self-managing one's health and health care suggests that patient empowerment can positively influence health behaviors and reduce health disparities. However, research shows racial and ethnic minority groups are less likely to seek HI than Whites. But, for those minorities who do seek HI, how do they utilize it? Objective: We examined racial and ethnic differences in HI seeking and use. Methods: Data are from the 2007 Health Tracking Household survey, a nationally-representative survey of civilian, non-institutionalized Americans. Our analytic sample size is 13,221 adults. Results: Using logistic regression we found African Americans vs. Whites were no different in seeking HI and using it when they talked with their doctors. Hispanics vs. Whites were significantly less likely to seek HI (OR=0.67, 95% CI: 0.56-0.81) and less likely to use it when they talked with their doctors (OR=0.77, 95% CI: 0.60-0.99). But, when African Americans and Hispanics did seek HI, they were significantly more likely to use HI to change their approach to maintaining their health (OR=1.91, 95% CI: 1.51-2.42 and OR=1.64, 95% CI: 1.25-2.13, respectively) and better understand how to treat illnesses than Whites (OR=1.79, 95% CI: 1.31-2.44 and OR=1.89, 95% CI: 1.32-2.71, respectively). Conclusions: Future research should seek interventions to improve how African Americans and Hispanics interface with providers and ensure that HI sought and used do not contradict treatment protocols.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to: 1. Describe consumer health information (HI) seeking and use behaviors by race and ethnicity. 2. Analyze what people are doing with HI after they seek it. 3. Discuss patient-doctor communication barriers (e.g., satisfaction, language, literacy, discrimination, etc.) as reasons why generally African Americans and Hispanics are less likely to seek HI but more likely to use HI when they do seek it compared to Whites.

Keywords: Health Information, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been trained in and taught courses on health disparities and social determinants of health for a number of years and am a faculty member of the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver.
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.