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Article
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Dan Wu, Hao Xu and Shu Fan

This paper aims to identify consumers' health information consultation patterns by analyzing information sources to better understand consumers' health information needs…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify consumers' health information consultation patterns by analyzing information sources to better understand consumers' health information needs and behavior in the context of multisource health information.

Design/methodology/approach

Haodaifu Online, an online health consultation (OHC) website in China, was used as a research data source, and 20,000 consultation cases were collected from the website with Python. After screening and cleaning, 1,601 consultation cases were included in this study. A content analysis-based mixed-methods research approach was applied to analyze these cases.

Findings

The results indicate that with the participation of OHC, there are 15 patterns of consumer health information consultation. Besides OHC, health information sources reported by consumers included medical institutions family/friends and the Internet. Consumers consult on a wide range of health issues including surgical conditions obstetrical and gynecological conditions and other 20 subjects. Consumers have multiple information needs when using OHC: getting prescriptions, diagnosing diseases, making appointments, understanding illnesses, confirming diagnoses and reviewing costs. Through further analysis it was found that consumers’ health information consultation patterns were also significantly different in health issues and health information needs.

Originality/value

This study broadens one’s understanding of consumer health information behavior, which contributes to the field of health information behavior, and also provides insight for OHC stakeholders to improve their services.

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2000

Lothar Spang and Lynda M. Baker

Changes in the US healthcare system in the past 20 years have meant increasing pressure on consumers to find their own healthcare information. Their search, amid an…

Abstract

Changes in the US healthcare system in the past 20 years have meant increasing pressure on consumers to find their own healthcare information. Their search, amid an ever‐widening array of information resources, has profound implications for library reference services. A recent study of 350 public librarians in Michigan is, to date, the only investigation of librarian practices in health information provision in a large region of the USA. Examines services, queries, problems, librarian training and health collection resources. The findings have special meaning for academic librarians as they delineate their unique role in the health information system and, with public librarians, seek to devise effective means for responsive library service in today’s competitive health information resources environment.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1991

ROBERT GANN

Increasing attention has been given over the last decade to the topic of health care information for patients and the public. This is called consumer health information

Abstract

Increasing attention has been given over the last decade to the topic of health care information for patients and the public. This is called consumer health information and it encompasses information about health and illness at a lay level; information about health care services available from the statutory and voluntary sectors; and information about choices in treatment and care. This is not a uniquely modern phenomenon. A study of self care and early lay medical publishing shows a robust and continuing tradition of people looking after themselves, without recourse to health professionals and with advice from various vernacular sources. However it is only since the 1970s that libraries and information services have developed to provide ready access for the public to consumer health information. The first consumer health information (CHI) services were established in the United States. By the late 1970s the first uk services had been established in Stevenage and Southampton. For most of the 1980s these were the only well developed CHI services in the UK library world, with most health information reaching consumers through a variety of non‐library advice agencies. The last two or three years have seen a flowering of CHI services, with the encouragement of official policies on consumer choice and quality assurance. There have been advances in the bibliographic control of the subject with the availability of new CHI databases. This emerging information specialism is now reaching maturity with a new concern with quality of service.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2007

Nira Shalom

This paper discusses the need for health information specialists who can promote patient empowerment by tailoring the information patients receive as they cope with…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper discusses the need for health information specialists who can promote patient empowerment by tailoring the information patients receive as they cope with illness. The objectives of this study are to distinguish the various stages of coping with illness, examine the informational needs of patients during these stages, explore how web information contributes to patient empowerment, and describe the potential role of the health information specialist.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to meet the study's objectives, a qualitative research method was used in which 110 in‐depth interviews were conducted with patients who told their story of coping throughout the course of illness. By distinguishing and understanding the different stages of coping with illness, we came to distinguish the distinct informational needs during the coping process, and understand how web information contributes to patient empowerment.

Findings

The process of coping with illness has four stages. In each stage, the patient's informational needs differ, as does his ability to absorb and process information. Health systems do not provide information to match the coping stage of the patient. Patients turn to professional (hospitals, universities) and unprofessional (forums, blogs) internet sites in their search for medical knowledge. The current study, integrated with other studies that show patients' difficulties using the internet, emphasizes the importance of the information specialist in the patient empowerment process.

Originality/value

The study will aid policy makers in the process of empowering patients by demonstrating patients' dynamic informational needs when coping with illness. This study proposes a role for the information specialists that will enable them to expand into the health domain. This role is the health information specialist, a professional who will, among other things, learn how health systems work, identify types of web information sources, assess medical site quality, recognize patients' coping stages, and adapt information to individual characteristics.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 5 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 October 2016

Stephan Dahl and Lynne Eagle

Patient empowerment (PE) is a key public health policy tool globally which is seen as unproblematic, but contains a number of unwarranted assumptions and unrecognised…

Abstract

Purpose

Patient empowerment (PE) is a key public health policy tool globally which is seen as unproblematic, but contains a number of unwarranted assumptions and unrecognised challenges to achieving effective implementation. Further, the theoretical foundations for understanding the impact of persuasive health communications on PE are weak. The purpose of this paper is to review these factors and to highlight major areas of concern.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the assumptions underpinning empowerment and the implicit theoretical foundations for active health information seeking behaviours are reviewed. This is then followed by a readability analysis of internet-based material relating to two general medical conditions, four chronic medical conditions and six patient information leaflets which was conducted to explore issues relation to the provision and readability of online health information.

Findings

The assumptions underpinning expectations of policy makers and health organisations regarding active health information seeking are shown to be problematic, with several potential impediments to effective PE implementation, including the fact that almost all of the online material reviewed is written in language too complex for the majority of the general public to comprehend, let alone act on.

Practical implications

Recommendations are made for guiding information seeking and a research agenda is outlined that would aid in strengthening theoretical underpinnings, expand knowledge and thereby help inform practice and policy debate regarding how PE can be improved.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to understanding of the challenges of effective health communication in the digital age by highlighting the need for a greater understanding of online health information seeking and the impact of limited health literacy and numeracy.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 34 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1996

JENNIFER MACDOUGALL, J. MICHAEL BRITTAIN and ROBERT GANN

This paper provides an overview of the range and development of health informatics, with examples from the literature world wide covering the types of information

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the range and development of health informatics, with examples from the literature world wide covering the types of information involved, the areas of application, the impact of evidence based medicine and other professional issues, integrated information systems, and the needs of the public, patients and their carers. While medical informatics certainly comprises a major part of health informatics it is not the main focus of this paper. Medical informatics is the older term and involves the use of information technology and computing specifically for medical science research, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease involving, for example, X‐rays, imaging, resonance, and magnetic scanning techniques. Rather, the scope of this review is the literature relating to the wider concept of the management of information through the interdisciplinary application of information science and technology for the benefit of patients, scientists, managers, staff, and carers involved in the whole range of healthcare activity.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 52 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 27 May 2014

Abdel-Aziz Ahmad Sharabati, Hamzeh Salim Khraim and Rami Atta Khateeb

– The purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) on consumers’ decision-making (CDM).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) on consumers’ decision-making (CDM).

Design/methodology/approach

Practical data were used in the empirical analysis collected from 484 consumer surveyed by means of a questionnaire. Statistical techniques such as descriptive statistics, correlation, simple and multiple regressions were employed. A Cronbach’s alpha was used to confirm the suitability of the data collection instrument.

Findings

The results of the study indicated a positive significant relationship between DTCA and CDM. The results indicated that there was significant impact of healthcare awareness on CDM, but there were no significant impacts of drug–drug interactions, medical information source and consumer economical situation on CDM.

Research limitations/implications

The data are also limited to a Jordanian market; therefore, generalizing results of a Jordanian setting to other countries may be questionable. Extending the analyses to other settings represent future research opportunities.

Originality/value

The current research may be considered as an initiative study that highlights the effect of DTCA on CDM in Jordan and in the Arab world. The results can provide the reference for further research about the relationship between DTCA and CDM.

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2011

Neil Lunt and Percivil Carrera

A key driver in the medical tourism phenomenon is the platform provided by the internet for gaining access to healthcare information and advertising. Given the pivotal…

Abstract

Purpose

A key driver in the medical tourism phenomenon is the platform provided by the internet for gaining access to healthcare information and advertising. Given the pivotal role of web‐based resources, there are important questions about their role and function including: the availability and types of information provided; information provenance and reliability; and privacy protection. This paper aims to address these questions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides the first systematic review of medical tourism sites, interrogating them for the range and quality of advice on seeking care.

Findings

A typology of sites (industry, media, professional, and consumer sites) was identified and quantitative and qualitative assessment tools were used to explore the content of information and materials.

Originality/value

In light of this review, the paper comments on the nature of medical tourism information available and the extent to which information asymmetry – rife in the market for healthcare – is alleviated allowing for the better functioning of the market for medical tourism.

Details

Tourism Review, vol. 66 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1660-5373

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Article
Publication date: 10 March 2014

JungWon Yoon and Soojung Kim

Considering that the internet is a useful source for health information, especially by foreign-born students, this exploratory study aimed to investigate international…

Abstract

Purpose

Considering that the internet is a useful source for health information, especially by foreign-born students, this exploratory study aimed to investigate international graduate students' internet use in the context of seeking health information.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 54 Korean graduate students in the USA using a survey questionnaire. Quantitative analysis using SPSS was conducted to describe Korean graduate students' internet use for seeking health information and to identify factors that possibly influence their health-information seeking activities.

Findings

The survey participants preferred Korean resources because of language problems and the internet was the primary source. They reported difficulties in identifying appropriate health information sources and understanding medical information. They often sought online health information to solve their or their family's current health problems and consequently, personal relevance was regarded as an important evaluation criterion, as was accuracy.

Research limitations/implications

By looking at an understudied user group, this study leads to a better understanding of the patterns of internet use for seeking health information among a specific ethnic group. The findings of this study demonstrate the needs of health education materials and guidelines that introduce credible health information sources and medical information for Korean graduate students and their families.

Originality/value

Despite the increasing number of international students in the USA, there is a lack of research on the health information-seeking behavior of international students. The findings of this study will help health education specialists and health information professionals provide international students with necessary health information.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 66 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1980

Eugene A. Engeldinger

With the job market as it is for many college graduates, it is more important than ever that students choose those professional and graduate schools which will best meet…

Abstract

With the job market as it is for many college graduates, it is more important than ever that students choose those professional and graduate schools which will best meet their individual needs and help them achieve their goals. The process of graduate school selection is often difficult, but libraries can facilitate the process with a good collection of specialized guides to graduate schools, frequently obtainable at little cost.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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