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J Agromedicine. 2005;10(2):17-26.

Medical connections: use of the internet and traditional sources of health information by rural Alabama households.

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Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, Kentucky College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 40504, USA.


Rural household adoption of the PC and Internet for accessing medical and healthcare information was investigated using survey data collected from 305 households randomly selected from non-metropolitan, rural counties across Alabama. The diffusion-adoption model for new technologies was employed to create five adoption stages relevant to this technology and its applications to communication of information in the health field. Descriptive household characteristics of age, education, income, and children revealed differences between adoption stages, with age and education having major impacts. Use of traditional sources of health information and the Internet were compared in relation to age and availability of medical services. Older, less educated households lagged behind in use of the Internet for health information. Medical professionals, doctors and pharmacists, were the most utilized information source by rural households; but those households connected to the Internet used on-line sources, even e-mail to communicate with their doctors.

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