The Internet as a Source of Health Information and Services

  • Maria M. Bujnowska-FedakEmail author
  • Joanna Waligóra
  • Agnieszka Mastalerz-Migas
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1211)


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.


E-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.

Ethical Approval

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).

Informed Consent

All of the participants were provided with comprehensive information concerning the objectives and scope of the survey and gave their informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria M. Bujnowska-Fedak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joanna Waligóra
    • 1
  • Agnieszka Mastalerz-Migas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineWroclaw Medical UniversityWrocławPoland

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