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Seizure. 1999 Feb;8(1):30-4.

Information exchange in an epilepsy forum on the World Wide Web.

Author information

1
Partners Neurology Epilepsy Service and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

The Partners Healthcare Epilepsy Service hosts an epilepsy 'Webforum'. In this paper, we describe our observations regarding who uses it, what kind of information is exchanged, how much misinformation is present and how we can better serve our patients. We examined a sample of 155 posts to the forum and 342 responses to those posts. The individual making the post and the type of questions were categorized. We also determined whether any information was objectively inaccurate. The principal users were care-givers (49%) and patients (34%). Eighty percent of the primary posts were questions. Answers were given largely by patients (38%) and care-givers (34%). The most commonly asked questions were about treatment options (31%) and the natural history of the illness (28%). In 20% of the questions, the user incidentally remarked that a health-care provider had not met their information needs. Six percent of the information was objectively inaccurate. The Web can serve as an effective means for the exchange of information between individuals with a common medical condition. We found that a small amount of misinformation is exchanged and that health-care providers are sometimes perceived as unable or unwilling to supply important health-related information.

PMID:
10091845
DOI:
10.1053/seiz.1998.0217
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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