Knowledge Management – Weekend College
September 21, 2014
Is the Internet Bad for Medical Information for the Consumer?
Cline, R. J. (2001) Consumer Health Information Seeking on the Internet: The State of The Art.
Health Education Research,16(6), 671-692. doi: 10.1093/her/16.6.671
This article looks at various studies of consumers searching the Internet for health information. The author looks at why consumers access online health information and the potential benefits of searching online for consumer health information. The author discusses three primary ways consumers access online health information. This article reviews potential benefits of consumers searching online for health information. The author also reviews the potential downfalls of using the Internet for health information. This article has been cited many times in more recent studies of consumers seeking health information via the Internet.
Cochrane, Z. R., Gregory, P. & Wilson, A. (2012). Readability of Consumer Health
Information on the Internet: A Comparison of U.S. Government-Funded and
Commercially Funded Websites. Journal of Health Communication, 17(9), 1003-1010,
The authors conducted a survey to compare the readability of health information available for consumers found on U.S. government funded websites (i.e., sites with a “.gov” suffix) versus the information found on commercially funded websites (i.e., sites with a .com” suffix). Since this study looked at only the readability of information – does not discuss accuracy or reliability, the value of this article will be on importance of consumer’s ability to read and understand health information researched on the Internet.
Cyrus, J.W. (2014). A Review of Recent Research on Internet Access, Use, and Online Health
Information Seeking. Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 14(2), 149-157. doi: 10.1080/15323269.2014.888630
This article discussed the recent research done by consumers on the Internet looking for health information. The author discusses the methodology and literature used as well as the use of computers – desktop or smart phones to access the Internet. The article also looks at the health related information being accessed and how that varies depending on age, income race and gender as well as the frequency of access to health information. This present a current, fresh perspective on how the Internet is being used to research health information.
Kronick, J.S. (2006). Is It a Medical Breakthrough? Journal of Consumer Health On the
Internet, 10, 17-31. doi: 10.1300/J381v10n01_02
Judith S. Kronick, MLS, a Reference Librarian at the University of Connecticut Health Center, and co-authors a quarterly newsletter for Connecticut public librarians as well as for those interested in consumer health information. This article discusses how health consumers are overwhelmed with medical research findings often reported as “medical breakthroughs” on daily basis by various media outlets. The author understands that finding accurate medical news sources is challenging and interpreting those findings an even greater challenge. This article discuses how to understand the research process, how that medical research is communicated to the public and presents reliable medical news sources available. This article provides value to the process of medical research and how that information is communicated to the public.
Loos, A. (2013). Cyberchondria: Too Much Information For the Health Anxious Patients?
Journal of Consumer Health On the Internet, 17(4), 439-445,
This article defines and discusses the term cyberchondira and how a search for a common symptom can escalate into the review of information on rare conditions that are possibly linked to common symptom. The author also discusses how consumers are becoming more dependent upon health information found via the Internet for self-diagnosis.
Suziedelyte, A. (2012). How does searching for health information on the Internet affect
Individuals’ demand for health care services? Social Science & Medicine, 75(10),
The author did an analysis to determine how health information obtained from Internet affected the consumer’s demand for health care. The analysis examined if consumer health information is obtained from Internet – does this affect the number of visits to see physician.
The research performed address the question, what are health information seekers doing with this information obtained.
Troug, R.D. (2012) Patients and Doctors – The Evolution of a Relationship, New England
Journal of Medicine 366(7), 581-585, doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1110848
Dr. Robert Truog is Professor of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical Schools, explains how the relationship between doctor and patient is the “core of medical ethics” but has evolved along three interrelated areas – clinical care, clinical research and society. This article provides interesting information around clinical research – how patients were not informed nor provided consent before being enrolled in research trials by their doctor. No attention is paid to discussion of physicians should be devoted to providing the best care to their patients regardless to cost. This article adds value to how the Internet has shifted the decision making power from physician to patient or sometimes to a shared decision between physicians and patient.
White, R. W., & Horvits, E. (2009). Cyberchondria: Studies of the Escalation of Medical
Concerns in Web Search. ACM Transactions On Information Systems, 27(4).
This article discusses how the Internet can increase the anxieties of people who have no medical training, especially when checking symptoms and trying to self-diagnose. The authors did a study on how people search for medical information via the Internet. The findings in this study showed that the Internet search engines have the potential to escalate medical concerns. The study presented in this article is a study discussed in more recent studies on Cyberchondria.