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Journal cover: Aslib Proceedings

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X
Currently published as: Aslib Journal of Information Management

Online from: 1949

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Health information on the Internet: a qualitative study of NHS Direct Online users


Document Information:
Title:Health information on the Internet: a qualitative study of NHS Direct Online users
Author(s):Peter Williams, (Peter Williams is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER), Department of Information Science, City University, London, UK. E-mail: www.soi.city.ac.uk/organisation/is/research/ciber/), David Nicholas, (David Nicholas is Head of Department, at the Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER), Department of Information Science, City University, London, UK. E-mail: www.soi.city.ac.uk/organisation/is/research/ciber/), Paul Huntington, (Paul Huntington is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER), Department of Information Science, City University, London, UK. E-mail: www.soi.city.ac.uk/organisation/is/research/ciber/)
Citation:Peter Williams, David Nicholas, Paul Huntington, (2003) "Health information on the Internet: a qualitative study of NHS Direct Online users", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 55 Iss: 5/6, pp.304 - 312
Keywords:Health education, Internet, National Health Service, Quality, Surveys
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00012530310498879 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:MCB UP Ltd
Abstract:Examines the way the general public exploits the Internet for health information, the motives behind usage, attitudes towards issues such as quality concerns, and the extent to which Internet interventions affect the doctor-patient relationship. Although a questionnaire survey was used (posted on the NHS Direct Web site), the questions asked were open, and invited free-text “qualitative” answers. This method was a success in terms of the amount and richness of the data accrued. Results suggested that the Internet is exploited in a wide variety of ways, by users acting in a number of roles – patient, intermediary or professional. Some health professionals are now so comfortable with the Internet that they encourage Internet usage by their patients. Lay users demonstrated a high level of understanding of issues raised, and showed a (healthy?) scepticism regarding the information provided. Many users felt that their consultations with doctors had been enriched by Internet-acquired information.



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