The internet is an important source of up-to-date medical information. Although several studies in different countries have explored the extent to which health science students use the computer and the internet, few researches are available on this subject in Nigeria. The aim of this study was to assess the uptake of computer and internet by health science students studying in the country.
One hundred and eighty three first year medical and nursing students of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria, completed a-25 item questionnaire during routine Library Orientation Program in the medical library. The EPI-Info software was used for data analysis.
The mean ages for medical students and the student nurses were 22 and 24.6 years respectively. Overall, 42.6% of the entire sample could use the computer, 57.4% could not. While more than half (58%) of the medical students are computer literate, majority (75.9%) of the student nurses are not. Slightly more than two thirds (60.7%) of the entire students had ever used the internet, 33. 9% had not. E-mail was the most popular of internet services used by the students (76.4%) and the cyber café was the common place where students had accessed these services. The students' mean scores on a 15-point perceived self-efficacy scale for internet-related tasks was 3.8 for medical and 0.7 for nursing students (p = 0.00). Students who are computer literate had superior mean scores (4.8) than those without (0.6) (p = 0.000).
First year clinical and nursing students in Ibadan Nigeria have not fully utilised the opportunity that the use of computer and internet offer for medical education. Improved efforts such as inclusion of computer education in medical and nursing curricular and establishment of computer laboratories are required to increase the student's access to computers and internet.
To understand what patients expect from physicians regarding information seeking on the Internet.
Waiting rooms of 4 community-based primary care offices.
Of 494 patients invited to participate, 330 completed the survey for a response rate of 67%. Of 177 respondents who used the Internet for health information, only 15% agreed that physicians should ask them about their Internet searches. Most (62%) agreed that physicians should recommend specific web sites where patients can learn more about their health care.
Primary care physicians should recognize that many patients would like guidance as they turn to the Internet for medical information. Physicians can utilize quality assessment tools and existing resources that facilitate referring patients to authoritative, commercial-free, patient-oriented medical information on the Internet.
Internal use information seeking patient expectations; physician guidance
The objective of this study is to explore the experiences and attitudes of rheumatologists and oncologists with regard to their patients’ health-related Internet use. In addition, we explored how often physicians referred their patients to health-related Internet sites. We sent a questionnaire to all the rheumatologists and oncologists in the Netherlands. The questionnaire included questions concerning demographics, experiences with patients’ health-related Internet use, referral behavior, and attitudes to the consequences of patients’ health-related Internet use (for patients themselves, the physician-patient relationship and the health care). The response rate was 46% (N = 238). Of these respondents, 134 practiced as a rheumatologist and 104 as an oncologist. Almost all physicians encountered their patients raising information from the Internet during a consultation. They were not, however, confronted with their patients’ health-related Internet use on a daily basis. Physicians had a moderately positive attitude towards the consequences of patients’ health-related Internet use, the physician-patient relationship and the health care. Oncologists were significantly less positive than rheumatologists about the consequences of health-related Internet use. Most of the physicians had never (32%) or only sometimes (42%) referred a patient to a health-related Internet site. Most physicians (53%) found it difficult to stay up-to-date with reliable Internet sites for patients. Physicians are moderately positive about their patients’ health-related Internet use but only seldom refer them to relevant sites. Offering an up-to-date site with accredited websites for patients might help physicians refer their patients.
Attitudes; Internet; Oncologists; Online health information; Patients; Rheumatologists
Public use of the Internet for health information is increasing but its effect on health care is unclear. We studied physicians' experience of patients looking for health information on the Internet and their perceptions of the impact of this information on the physician-patient relationship, health care, and workload.
Cross-sectional survey of a nationally-representative sample of United States physicians (1050 respondents; response rate 53%).
Eighty-five percent of respondents had experienced a patient bringing Internet information to a visit. The quality of information was important: accurate, relevant information benefited, while inaccurate or irrelevant information harmed health care, health outcomes, and the physician-patient relationship. However, the physician's feeling that the patient was challenging his or her authority was the most consistent predictor of a perceived deterioration in the physician-patient relationship (OR = 14.9; 95% CI, 5.5-40.5), in the quality of health care (OR = 3.4; 95% CI, 1.1-10.9), or health outcomes (OR = 5.6; 95% CI, 1.7-18.7). Thirty-eight percent of physicians believed that the patient bringing in information made the visit less time efficient, particularly if the patient wanted something inappropriate (OR = 2.5; 95% CI, 1.5-4.4), or the physician felt challenged (OR = 3.6; 95% CI, 1.8-7.2).
The quality of information on the Internet is paramount: accurate relevant information is beneficial, while inaccurate information is harmful. Physicians appear to acquiesce to clinically-inappropriate requests generated by information from the Internet, either for fear of damaging the physician-patient relationship or because of the negative effect on time efficiency of not doing so. A minority of physicians feels challenged by patients bringing health information to the visit; reasons for this require further research.
Physicians; Internet; physician-patient relations
Objective: To understand fundamental attitudes towards patient safety culture and ways in which attitudes vary by hospital, job class, and clinical status.
Design: Using a closed ended survey, respondents were questioned on 16 topics important to a culture of safety in health care or other industries plus demographic information. The survey was conducted by US mail (with an option to respond by Internet) over a 6 month period from April 2001 in three mailings.
Setting: 15 hospitals participating in the California Patient Safety Consortium.
Subjects: A sample of 6312 employees generally comprising all the hospital's attending physicians, all the senior executives (defined as department head or above), and a 10% random sample of all other hospital personnel. The response rate was 47.4% overall, 62% excluding physicians. Where appropriate, responses were weighted to allow an accurate comparison between participating hospitals and job types and to correct for non-response.
Main outcome measures: Frequency of responses suggesting an absence of safety culture ("problematic responses" to survey questions) and the frequency of "neutral" responses which might also imply a lack of safety culture. Responses to each question overall were recorded according to hospital, job class, and clinician status.
Results: The mean overall problematic response was 18% and a further 18% of respondents gave neutral responses. Problematic responses varied widely between participating institutions. Clinicians, especially nurses, gave more problematic responses than non-clinicians, and front line workers gave more than senior managers.
Conclusion: Safety culture may not be as strong as is desirable of a high reliability organization. The culture differed significantly, not only between hospitals, but also by clinical status and job class within individual institutions. The results provide the most complete available information on the attitudes and experiences of workers about safety culture in hospitals and ways in which perceptions of safety culture differ among hospitals and between types of personnel. Further research is needed to confirm these results and to determine how senior managers can successfully transmit their commitment to safety to the clinical workplace.
It is not clear how prevalent Internet use among cardiopathic patients in Germany is and what impact it has on the health care utilisation. We measured the extent of Internet use among cardiopathic patients and examined the effects that Internet use has on users' knowledge about their cardiac disease, health care matters and their use of the health care system.
We conducted a prospective survey among 255 cardiopathic patients at a German university hospital.
Forty seven respondents (18 %) used the internet and 8,8 % (n = 23) went online more than 20 hours per month. The most frequent reason for not using the internet was disinterest (52,3 %). Fourteen patients (5,4 %) searched for specific disease-related information and valued the retrieved information on an analogous scale (1 = not relevant, 5 = very relevant) on median with 4,0. Internet use is age and education dependent. Only 36 (14,1 %) respondents found the internet useful, whereas the vast majority would not use it. Electronic scheduling for ambulatory visits or postoperative telemedical monitoring were rather disapproved.
We conclude that Internet use is infrequent among our study population and the search for relevant health and disease related information is not well established.
The Internet is a widespread source of health information for health-care professionals and patients. Social inequalities in Internet access have been well studied but not practices. This study was conducted to determine whether differences exist in the frequency of Internet use for health information among online health seekers.
We conducted an Internet-based survey from November 2006 to March 2007. The 3720 residents of France who had searched for health information during the previous year were considered.
This study reveals different practice of online health information seeking between men, women, the general population and people who work in the health sector. Health status and active Internet use were associated with higher frequencies to varying degrees. Greater health concerns and some issues in the physician-patient relationship were associated with higher frequencies of Internet use in the general population.
The Internet seems to be used as a substitute information tool when issues of communication or confidence with physicians arise as well as to lead people to question physicians and medicine.
Physician and public health actors should remain cautious about these disparities in online health information seeking access and practices, quality issues concerning online information and about possible self-exclusion from the health-care system.
Adolescent; Adult; Age Factors; Attitude to Health; Caregivers; Consumer Health Information; methods; Female; France; Health Status; Humans; Internet; Male; Middle Aged; Questionnaires; Sex Factors; Socioeconomic Factors; Young Adult
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.
Self-administered mailed survey.
Patients from a primary care internal medicine private practice.
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.
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.
Internet; primary care; health information
Pharmaceutical drug promotion is a means of informing health professionals about new drugs. The approach is often times unethical and inappropriate and may promote irrational prescribing. Dearth of information on impact of pharmaceutical drug promotion on prescribing behaviour of doctors in developing African countries has necessitated this study. We therefore aimed to determine the sources of drug information for doctors working in a teaching hospital in Nigeria and to assess the self-reported impact of the sources on their prescribing behaviour.
A total of 163 doctors working at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan in Nigeria were evaluated with a questionnaire for their demographics and sources of drug information. For doctors who relied on drug promotion, they were asked to self-report and self-rate their opinion on extent of interactions with pharmaceutical companies as well as how such interactions had impacted on their prescribing behaviour. Apart from the demographics, each question was evaluated with a typical five-level Likert item. Data analyses were with simple descriptive statistics.
Of the 400 doctors working at UCH, only 40.8% participated in the study. Drug information was sourced from colleagues (161, 98.8%), reference books (158, 96.9%), pharmaceutical sales representatives-PSRs (152, 93.2%), promotion materials (151, 92.6%), scientific papers/journals/internet (149, 91.4%), and drug promotion forum/product launches (144, 88.3%). Each source was highly utilized but there was no wide variation in their pattern of use. According to the self-report of over a half of the respondents, PSRs was an accurate and reliable drug information resource; PSRs increased their awareness of the promoted drugs; and their prescribing behaviours were influenced by information from PSRs.
Respondents tend to rely on a broad range of drug information resources which include potentially inappropriate resources such as PSRs. Since this study was based on self-report, the influence of drug information resources reported by the respondents on their prescribing behaviour may have been underestimated. Measures should be taken to minimize interactions between PSRs and the respondents.
Drug; prescription; information source; promotion; pharmaceutical company; influence; doctors; Nigeria
Despite the potential of the internet for informing clinical practice, little is know about physicians’ use of and attitudes about internet use for dementia care. We surveyed 373 physicians to inform development of on-line dementia education resources. Two thirds reported using internet-based resources in their clinical practices at least three times per week; 61% participated in on-line continuing medical education. Three fourths agreed that internet-based resources are helpful in clinical care but most expressed mixed views about quality of available information. Respondents reported limited awareness and use of dementia-specific internet resources, but expressed an interest in such information regarding screening, treatment, community resources, and patient education. National Institute on Aging-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers are in a unique position to disseminate on-line resources for physicians on dementia diagnosis, treatment, and care. Our study suggests that such a resource would be well received and utilized by physicians.
Alzheimer’s disease; Internet; Medical Education
There have been many studies showing the variable quality of Internet health information and it has often been assumed that patients will blindly follow this and frequently come to harm. There have also been reports of problems for doctors and health services following patient Internet use, but their frequency has not been quantified. However, there have been no large, rigorous surveys of the perceptions of Internet-aware doctors about the actual benefits and harms to their patients of using the Internet.
To describe Internet-literate doctors' experiences of their patients' use of the Internet and resulting benefits and problems.
Online survey to a group of 800 Web-using doctors (members of a UK medical Internet service provider, Medix) in September and October 2001.
Responses were received from 748 (94%) doctors, including 375 general practitioners (50%). Respondents estimated that 1%-2% of their patients used the Internet for health information in the past month with no regional variation. Over two thirds of the doctors considered Internet health information to be usually (20%) or sometimes (48%) reliable; this was higher in those recently qualified. Twice as many reported patients experiencing benefits (85%; 95% confidence interval, 80%-90%) than problems (44%; 95% confidence interval, 37%-50%) from the Internet. Patients gaining actual physical benefits from Internet use were reported by 40% of respondents, while 8% reported physical harm. Patients' overall experiences with the Internet were judged excellent 1%, good 29%, neutral 62%, poor 9%, or bad <1%. Turning to the impact of patient Internet use on the doctors themselves, 13% reported no problems, 38% 1 problem, and 49% 2 or more problems. Conversely, 20% reported no benefits for themselves, 49% 1 benefit, and 21% 2 or more benefits.
These doctors reported patient benefits from Internet use much more often than harms, but there were more problems than benefits for the doctors themselves. Reported estimates of patient Internet usage rates were low. Overall, this survey suggests that patients are deriving considerable benefits from using the Internet and that some of the claimed risks seem to have been exaggerated.
Internet; information quality; attitude to computers; questionnaires; patient education
Cervical Cancer (CC) is the second most common cancer among women with early detection and prompt treatment as best management options. Female nurses have crucial roles to play in promoting the utilization of Cervical Cancer Screening Services (CCSS), yet little information exist regarding their perception and utilization of these services. The CCSS related knowledge, perception and utilization among female nurses at the University College Hospital, (UCH) Ibadan, Nigeria were therefore determined.
A survey of 503 consenting nurses was done using a pretested self-administered questionnaire which included a 40-point knowledge scale and questions on perception of CC. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square test, ANOVA and logistic regression.
Respondents’ mean age was 38.0 ± 8.6 years, mean year of experience was 12.5 ± 8.9 years and overall mean knowledge score was 22.8±4.1. Mean knowledge scores by cadre were Assistant Directors (26.7 ± 1.5), Chief Nursing Officers (23.4 ± 2.3) and Staff Nurses (21.7 ± 5.3) (p<0.05). Eighty-eight percent correctly perceived CC to be preventable and 82.0% believed that screening should be carried out as soon as sexual intercourse starts irrespective of age. Only 32.6% had ever used CCSS facility and main reasons for non-use included lack of time (50.8%), fear of result (13.9%) and not being sexually active (6.3%). Staff Nurses were four times less likely to utilize cervical screening services than the Assistant Directors of Nursing (OR 0.23, CI 0.117-0.442).
Utilization of cervical cancer screening services among the female nurses was poor. Strategies that encourage utilization are hereby advocated.
Female nurses; cervical cancer; cancer screening; utilization; perception; Nigeria
Objective: the optimization of a diagnosis process and fluency in the Health Care sector in Romania. A key to discover this complex process was to determine a correlation between the physicians and the use of information technology, on one side and the patients' perspective on the other.
Hypothesis: Integrating information technology in a physician's activity will lead to lower costs and less time spent while diagnosing patients. Using the electronic medical records and introducing a unified database with the patients' medical histories will make the process of diagnosis easier.
Methods: We studied the diagnosis from the point of view of 304 patients in a public hospital and 320 physicians working there.
Results: We believed that time and accessibility to different physicians makes the diagnosis process a burden for a patient and implicitly lead to dissatisfaction with health care services. We supposed that the burden of diagnosis for physicians comes from the lack of Internet connection and computer usage knowledge. We have found out that most physicians know how to use the computer at an intermediate level and have access to Internet, online journals and databases and do not use emails to a higher extent to communicate to other specialists, but do not rely entirely on the electronic medical records. Most physicians think that it is not technology, which stands in the way of proper and fast diagnosis but the financing and the paper work from the Romanian health system.
Solutions that might be taken into account to entirely motivate physicians to use electronic medical records are:
Adjustments can be made to the computer software interface in order to make the design more consistent (to eliminate the paper forms) and user friendly.Physicians can be provided with more training and knowledge.
diagnosis process; information technology; electronic medical records; telemedicine
To identify users’ reasons to look for physician consultation on the internet instead of visiting a physician and to explore their general characteristics, motivation, and satisfaction with internet medical consultation service ‘Your Questions.’
Users of a free internet medical consultation service ‘Your Questions’ (www.plivazdravlje.hr) were invited to participate in a web-based survey designed to explore their general characteristics (age, sex, etc), reasons for using the service, the nature of their health problem or question, and their satisfaction with the service. Respondents were divided into two groups: users who consulted an internet physician only (Group I) and users who used internet consulting before or after visiting a physician (Group II).
The response rate was 38% (1036/2747), with 79% female respondents. A fifth of the respondents (21%) consulted an internet physician only (Group I). Multivariate analysis revealed that the respondents in Group I were younger (median 24 vs 28 years in Group II), more interested into questions about pregnancy (odds ratio [OR], 1.984; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.203-3.272), more often embarrassed to talk to a physician in person (OR, 1.828; 95% CI, 1.119-2.989), and more motivated to protect their privacy (OR, 1.727; 95% CI, 1.252-2.380). They also had greater satisfaction with the service (77% vs 60%, P < 0.001).
The factors associated with the use of internet-based medical consultation services were younger age, need for privacy protection, avoidance of embarrassment at the physician’s office, and having a question related to pregnancy. This reveals the internet medical consultation service as a useful health promotion supplement that is particularly applicable for the population of young adults.
Several studies have explored the scientific platforms on patient use of the internet for health information. In contrast physicians' perspective on evolving internet environment is lacking. The purpose of this study is to assess and correlate the extent of internet use among healthcare professionals and examine its effects on clinical practice.
Cross sectional survey conducted in the USA using questionnaires distributed randomly to healthcare professionals attending distinct continuing medical education programmes between 2003 and 2004. Multiple choice and yes/no questions related to the trends of internet use and its effects on clinical practice were extracted and responses analysed. The main outcome measures are self reported rates of internet use, perceived effects, and the role of medical web sites in clinical practice.
The overall response rate was 60%. A total of 277 survey respondents (97%) had internet access. Some 7% in private practice and 1% of group practice physicians did not have internet access. Most (71%) used the internet regularly for medical or professional updating and 62% (n = 178) felt the need for sharing web sites designed for healthcare professionals with patients. Some 27% of the physicians currently own established personal practice web sites. Sixty three per cent have recommended a web site to a patient for more information, matching the positive trust (>70%) on the general quality of selected medical web sites.
This cross sectional survey shows that internet use and web based medical information is widely popular among physicians and patients. About 23%–31% of the healthcare professionals report >80% interaction with web informed patients in their daily practice.
healthcare information; physician‐patient relationship; internet; medical web sites
To determine what types of consumers use the Internet as a source of health information
A survey of consumer use of the Internet for health information conducted during December 2001 and January 2002
We estimated multivariate regression models to test hypotheses regarding the characteristics of consumers that affect information seeking behavior
Respondents were randomly sampled from an Internet-enabled panel of over 60,000 households. Our survey was sent to 12,878 panel members, and 69.4 percent of surveyed panel members responded. We collected information about respondents' use of the Internet to search for health information and to communicate about health care with others using the Internet or e-mail within the last year
Individuals with reported chronic conditions were more likely than those without to search for health information on the Internet. The uninsured, particularly those with a reported chronic condition, were more likely than the privately insured to search. Individuals with longer travel times for their usual source of care were more likely to use the Internet for health-related communication than those with shorter travel times
Populations with serious health needs and those facing significant barriers in accessing health care in traditional settings turn to the Internet for health information.
Internet; health information; uninsured; travel time; chronic conditions
OBJECTIVE: To explore how best to make high-quality preventive health information available to consumers on the Internet. DESIGN: Focus groups. SETTING: Three urban workplaces and one local hospital with patients from a rural family medical practice. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-two men and 17 women patients. METHOD: Qualitative survey of four focus groups, analysis of transcripts and researchers' notes. MAIN FINDINGS: Five themes characterized participants' perceptions of a consumer website of evidence-based preventive guidelines: content expectations, website design, trustworthiness of content, marketing, and the implications of consumer health information on the Internet. CONCLUSION: Consumers want preventive health information both for taking care of themselves and for participating in a more informed way in their health care when they see a physician. Findings of this study reveal some ways in which consumers' use of Internet health information can affect physicians' and other health professionals' work.
Due to long waits for primary care appointments and extended emergency department wait times, newer sites for episodic primary care services, such as urgent care centers, have developed. However, little is known about these centers. The purpose of this study is to provide information about the organization and functioning of urgent care centers based on a nationally representative U.S. sample.
We conducted a mail survey with telephone follow-up of urgent care centers identified via health insurers' websites, internet searches, and a trade association mailing list. Descriptive statistics are presented.
Urgent care centers are open beyond typical office hours, and their scope of services is broader than that of many primary care offices. While these characteristics are similar to hospital emergency departments, such centers employ significant numbers of family physicians. The payer distribution is similar to that of primary care, and physicians' average salaries are comparable to those for family physicians overall. Urgent care centers report early adoption of electronic health records, though our findings are qualified by a lack of strictly comparable data.
While their hours and scope of services reflect some characteristics of emergency departments, urgent care centers are in many ways similar to family medicine practices. As the health care system evolves to cope with expanding demands in the face of limited resources, it is unclear how patients with episodic care needs will be treated, and what role urgent care centers will play in their care.
The Internet contains a tremendous amount of unregulated information. Internet use gives adolescents access to a wide variety of information and communication devices, and may be associated with certain risks.
To provide health care professionals with information on adolescent Internet use and its associated risks.
Ninety-four per cent of Canadian youth surveyed nationwide in 2005 reported having Internet access in their homes. Parents and health care providers need to educate themselves on issues of Internet safety. The divergent means by which adolescents are using the Internet and the inherent risks associated with unsupervised and uneducated use are addressed. Parents and teenagers are provided with tips for safe Internet use, and health care providers are offered sample questions pertaining to adolescent Internet use.
A large proportion of adolescents use the Internet daily. Studies examining the risks of online exposure in this age group are evolving. Awareness of the range of applications and information available online will facilitate counselling on appropriate Internet use.
Adolescent; Internet; Interview; Web site
The United States health care system is an outdated model in need of fundamental change. As part of this change, the system must explore and take advantage of the potential benefits of the "e-revolution," a phenomenon that includes everyday use of the Internet by the general public. During 2002, an estimated 100 million Americans will have obtained information — including health information — from the Web as a basis for making decisions. The Internet is thus an influential force; and, as such, this medium could have a revolutionary role in retooling the trillion-dollar United States health care industry to improve patient self-management, patient satisfaction, and health outcomes. As a group, physicians use the Internet more than do many other sectors of the general adult population. However, physicians have not received sufficient information to convince them that they can provide higher-quality care by using the Internet; indeed, few studies have assessed the Internet's value for improving patients' medical self-management and health behavior, as well as their clinical outcomes and relationships with health care practitioners. New e-technology formats introduced to the growing consumer movement will drive the next generation of self-care by allowing patients to manage their own health conveniently and proficiently.
Consumer participation; Internet; medical informatics; patient education; physician-patient relations; self care; technology; disease management; computers
Effectiveness of Internet-based self-management in patients with asthma has been shown, but its cost-effectiveness is unknown. We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of Internet-based asthma self-management compared with usual care.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomized controlled trial, with 12 months follow-up. Patients were aged 18 to 50 year and had physician diagnosed asthma. The Internet-based self-management program involved weekly on-line monitoring of asthma control with self-treatment advice, remote Web communications, and Internet-based information. We determined quality adjusted life years (QALYs) as measured by the EuroQol-5D and costs for health care use and absenteeism. We performed a detailed cost price analysis for the primary intervention. QALYs did not statistically significantly differ between the Internet group and usual care: difference 0.024 (95% CI, −0.016 to 0.065). Costs of the Internet-based intervention were $254 (95% CI, $243 to $265) during the period of 1 year. From a societal perspective, the cost difference was $641 (95% CI, $−1957 to $3240). From a health care perspective, the cost difference was $37 (95% CI, $−874 to $950). At a willingness-to-pay of $50000 per QALY, the probability that Internet-based self-management was cost-effective compared to usual care was 62% and 82% from a societal and health care perspective, respectively.
Internet-based self-management of asthma can be as effective as current asthma care and costs are similar.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN79864465
The CMA's Publications Department has created an interactive information service on the Internet, CMA Online (http://hpb1.hwc.ca:8400/), to provide physicians with rapid access to up-to-date clinical information and health care news, as well as to facilitate electronic discussion among health care professionals throughout the world and to provide information to patients. The CMA is the first national medical association in the world to do this. The service, part of the Internet's multimedia system known as the World Wide Web, is the first totally electronic product from the CMA. Because anyone with access to the Web can use the service, CMA Online will be an important vehicle for raising the profile of the medical profession in Canada and for disseminating health care information to the computer-literate public. It is tangible evidence of the CMA's commitment to provide strong leadership in the health care field.
This NCI funded study examined the relationship between the use of Internet health information by people newly diagnosed with cancer (N=500), with patient task behavior and perceived self efficacy. Study variables were compared among Direct users of Internet health information (people using the Internet themselves), Indirect users of Internet health information (people receiving Internet health information from friends or family members), and Non-users of Internet health information (people not using the Internet or receiving health information from the Internet). The subjects were recruited from persons who called the Atlantic Region of the NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS), located at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA. Follow up phone interviews were done with participants six weeks after initial contact to assess impact of the use of the Internet on perceived patient task behavior and self efficacy. Results show significant relationships between Internet use and all study variables.
INTRODUCTION: The distribution and types of Internet connectivity will determine the equity of access by patient populations to emerging health technologies. We sought to measure the rates, types, and predictors of access in a patient population targeted for Web-based medical services. METHODS: Design. Cross sectional in-person interview. Setting. Emergency department of a large urban pediatric teaching hospital. Subjects. Primary caretakers of patients or patients at least 16 years old. Procedure and measures. Subjects were asked about access to e-mail and the Internet as well as about willingness to use and concerns about Web-based services. Views of equity and access and sociodemographic data were also elicited. RESULTS: 132 subjects were enrolled in the study. Of respondents, 67.2% use a computer and 36.4% can access the Internet or e-mail from home. Including Internet connections and/or e-mail accounts at work, school and public libraries, 50.7% of the sample has access. Forty percent of families have e-mail accounts. The rate at which families have connectivity is primarily correlated with income (r = 0.6, p < 0.01). At all income levels, rates of access to the World Wide Web are higher than to e-mail. White patients are much more likely to have e-mail (OR 5.0, 95% CI 2.4-10.8) and Web access (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.7-7.5). CONCLUSIONS: Connectivity is directly correlated with income and distributed unevenly across racial and ethnic groups. World Wide Web access is more prevalent than e-mail accounts, and both are often obtained outside the home. Design of health applications should account for these attributes of patient access.
Studies suggest that there has been an increase in the use of the Internet by patients in many Western societies. However, despite the many texts available on health and the Internet, not much is known about how much patients actually use the Internet to look up health information in their daily lives. We know little about what meaning this activity has for their experience of health and illness, and for their relationship with health-care practitioners.
To explore patients' and practitioners' use of the Internet and to consider whether use of the Internet is changing relationships between patients and health-care practitioners.
The study used qualitative interviews and observations of patient–practitioner interaction. Our purposive sample of 47 patients (32 women and 15 men) had all had contact with the health services for information/treatment in relation to hormone replacement therapy (HRT)/menopause and Viagra/erectile dysfunction. The setting for the research was in general practitioners' surgeries, specialist clinics and patients' homes in the United Kingdom. Participants reflected a wide range of socio-economic groups, but most were white and British born, which, given the ethnic make-up of the town in which we conducted the research, was not surprising. In addition to patients, we interviewed 10 health-care practitioners (4 consultant doctors, 3 GPs, 2 specialist nurses, and a psychologist) about their own health information seeking practices (HISPs) and those of their patients.
Use of the Internet can increase patients' knowledge about their health conditions, although patients in our study were often too overwhelmed by the information available on the Internet to make an informed decision about their own care. Patients have a great deal of trust in their health-care practitioners. Health-care practitioners need to improve their own skills in Internet use. Hype around Internet use by patients appears to exceed the reality of Internet use.
Our qualitative study suggests that use of the Internet is contributing to subtle changes in the relationship between health-care practitioners and their patients, rather than effecting the dramatic transformation some people envisage for it.
Information literacy; patient-practitioner relations