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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Nov-Dec;21(6):1113-7. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2013-002350. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Seeking health information online: does limited healthcare access matter?

Author information

  • 1Department of Health Policy and Administration, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • 2Center for Health Care and Policy Research, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

Consumers facing barriers to healthcare access may use online health information seeking and online communication with physicians, but the empirical relationship has not been sufficiently analyzed. Our study examines the association of barriers to healthcare access with consumers' health-related information searching on the internet, use of health chat groups, and email communication with physicians, using data from 27,210 adults from the 2009 National Health Interview Survey. Individuals with financial barriers to healthcare access, difficulty getting timely appointments with doctors, and conflicts in scheduling during clinic hours are more likely to search for general health information online than those without these access barriers. Those unable to get timely appointments with physicians are more likely to participate in health chat groups and email physicians. The internet may offer a low-cost source of health information and could help meet the heightened demand for health-related information among those facing access barriers to care.

Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.

KEYWORDS:

Consumer Health Information; Health Care Access; Health Information Systems; Internet; Online Health Information Seeking

PMID:
24948558
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4215038
[Available on 2015-11-01]
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