The Internet as a Source of Health Information and Services
The Internet is increasingly used for health-related purposes and evolves with the ever-changing needs of patients. The aim of this study was to assess the level of reliance on the Internet as a health information source, to examine which online communication activities are the most common for health purposes, and to determine the attitudes and needs of patients in this area and the factors affecting its use. A total of 1000 adults were selected from the Polish population by random sampling. The survey was administered by the Computer-Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI). The study concluded that 76.9% of the participants used the Internet for health purposes, among whom 72.6% of active and 27.4% of passive users were distinguished. The role of the Internet as a source of health information has increased, which corresponds to a growing interest in online health services. The majority of individuals searching for health information in the Internet lived in urban areas, had a high level of education, and was professionally active. We conclude that the increased interest in the use of the Internet related to health determines the direction in which e-health should be developed in the future.
KeywordsE-health services E-patient Health information Health professionals Internet user Needs of patients Online communication Sociodemographic factors Telecare
This chapter forms a part of national surveys on the use of Internet and e-health services in Poland conducted by Wroclaw Medical University in Poland. The authors would like to thank Tomasz Kujawa for his methodological and statistical help.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this chapter.
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. The study protocol was approved by the Bioethics Committee of Wroclaw Medical University in Wroclaw, Poland (permit ST.C290.17.040/2017).
All of the participants were provided with comprehensive information concerning the objectives and scope of the survey and gave their informed consent.
- Asibey BO, Agyemang S, Dankwah AB (2017) The internet use for health information seeking among Ghanaian university students: a cross–sectional study. Int J Telemed Appl 2017:1756473Google Scholar
- Beckjord EB, Finney Rutten LJ, Squiers L, Arora NK, Volckmann L, Moser RP, Hesse BW (2007) Use of the internet to communicate with health care providers in the United States: estimates from the 2003 and 2005 Health Information National Trends Surveys (HINTS). J Med Internet Res 9(3):e20PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Blusi M, Jong M, Dalin R (2016) Older people using e–health services–exploring frequency of use and associations with perceived benefits for spouse caregivers. Informatics 3(3):15Google Scholar
- Bujnowska–Fedak MM, Pirogowicz I (2014) Support for e–health services among elderly primary care patients. Telemed E Health 20(8):696–704Google Scholar
- Fox S (2011a) Who doesn’t gather health information online? Pew Research Center http://www.pewinternet.org/2011/10/18/who–doesnt–gather–health–information–online/. Accessed on 08 Aug 2018
- Fox S (2011b) The social life of health information. Pew Internet and American Life Project. http://pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2011/PIP_Social_Life_of_Health_Info.pdf. Accessed on 08 Aug 2018
- Fox S, Duggan M (2013) Health online 2013. Pew Research Center http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Health–online.aspx. Accessed on 08 Aug 2018
- Livingston G, Minushkin S, Cohn D (2008) Hispanics and health care in the United States. Access, information and knowledge. Pew Research Center http://www.pewhispanic.org/2008/08/13/hispanics–and–health–care–in–the–united–states–access–information–and–knowledge/. Accessed on 19 Aug 2018
- Lustria ML, Smith SA, Hinnant CC (2011) Exploring digital divides: an examination of eHealth technology use in health information seeking, communication and personal health information management in the USA. Health Inf J 17(3):224–243Google Scholar
- Thai CL, Gaysynsky A, Falisi A, Chou WYS, Blake K, Hesse BW (2018) Trust in health information sources and channels, then and now: evidence from the Health Information National Trends Survey (2005–2013). In: Hale TM, Chou WY, Cotten SR, Khilnani A (eds) eHealth: current evidence, promises, perils and future directions (Studies in Media and Communications, vol. 15). Emerald Publishing Limited, BingleyGoogle Scholar
- Waligóra J, Bujnowska–Fedak MM (2019) Online health technologies and mobile devices: attitudes, needs and future. Adv Exp Med Biol. in pressGoogle Scholar
- Wellstead P (2011) Information behaviour of Australian men experiencing stressful life events: the role of social networks and confidants. Information Research: an International Electronic Journal 16 http://informationr.net/ir/16–2/paper474.html. Accessed on 07 Aug 2018
- Zach L, Dalrymple PW, Rogers ML, Williver–Far H (2012) Assessing Internet access and use in a medically underserved population: implications for providing enhanced health information services. Health Inf Libr J 29(1):61–71Google Scholar