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Article

Annika Rantala, Heidi Enwald and Sandy Zinn

The purpose of this paper is to examine differences of health information seeking among Finnish and South African university students. The focus is on weight management…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine differences of health information seeking among Finnish and South African university students. The focus is on weight management and on how students utilise various internet sources.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected with a web-based, structured survey by using convenience sampling. Descriptive statistics and Pearson’s χ2 test were utilised in the analysis.

Findings

Overall, health information was more often encountered than sought on purpose. Passive information seeking was more common for South African students as almost a third of them report encountering it several times a week. As an information source, South African students opted for social networking sites more frequently than search engines, the latter being the first choice for Finnish students. Discussion boards were more popular among South African students, and, on the other hand, web-based health calculators among Finns.

Research limitations/implications

This is a small-scale comparative study. The results are not to be generalised, but may provide clues about the information seeking differences between Finland and South Africa.

Practical implications

Media literacy, digital literacy and health information literacy of young adults should be emphasised so that they would be able to evaluate information for reliability and accuracy in order to help them make appropriate decisions when confronted by health information online.

Social implications

The implications of the study are that health providers and professionals should be more prominent on social media sites, which are popular ways for young people to discover information.

Originality/value

Comparative studies are rare. This comparison is between Finland, where internet penetration is 94 per cent, and South Africa, where internet penetration is 54 per cent.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 37 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

Keywords

Content available
Article

Isto Huvila, Åsa Cajander, Jonas Moll, Heidi Enwald, Kristina Eriksson-Backa and Hanife Rexhepi

Data from a national patient survey (N = 1,155) of the Swedish PAEHR “Journalen” users were analysed, and an extended version of the theory of technological frames was…

Abstract

Purpose

Data from a national patient survey (N = 1,155) of the Swedish PAEHR “Journalen” users were analysed, and an extended version of the theory of technological frames was developed to explain the variation in the technological and informational framing of information technologies found in the data.

Design/methodology/approach

Patient Accessible Electronic Health Records (PAEHRs) are implemented globally to address challenges with an ageing population. However, firstly, little is known about age-related variation in PAEHR use, and secondly, user perceptions of the PAEHR technology and the health record information and how the technology and information–related perceptions are linked to each other. The purpose of this study is to investigate these two under-studied aspects of PAEHRs and propose a framework based on the theory of technological frames to support studying the second aspect, i.e. the interplay of information and technology–related perceptions.

Findings

The results suggest that younger respondents were more likely to be interested in PAEHR contents for general interest. However, they did not value online access to the information as high as older ones. Older respondents were instead inclined to use medical records information to understand their health condition, prepare for visits, become involved in their own healthcare and think that technology has a much potential. Moreover, the oldest respondents were more likely to consider the information in PAEHRs useful and aimed for them but to experience the technology as inherently difficult to use.

Research limitations/implications

The sample excludes non-users and is not a representative sample of the population of Sweden. However, although the data contain an unknown bias, there are no specific reasons to believe that it would differently affect the survey's age groups.

Practical implications

Age should be taken into account as a key factor that influences perceptions of the usefulness of PAEHRs. It is also crucial to consider separately patients' views of PAEHRs as a technology and of the information contained in the EHR when developing and evaluating existing and future systems and information provision for patients.

Social implications

This study contributes to bridging the gap between information behaviour and systems design research by showing how the theory of technological frames complemented with parallel informational frames to provide a potentially powerful framework for elucidating distinct conceptualisations of (information) technologies and the information they mediate. The empirical findings show how information and information technology needs relating to PAEHRs vary according to age. In contrast to the assumptions in much of the earlier work, they need to be addressed separately.

Originality/value

Few earlier studies focus on (1) age-related variation in PAEHR use and (2) user perceptions of the PAEHR technology and the health record information and how the technology and information–related perceptions are linked to each other.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Roles and Responsibilities of Libraries in Increasing Consumer Health Literacy and Reducing Health Disparities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-341-8

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