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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2009 Jan-Feb;15(1):67-9. doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000342946.33456.d9.

Access and use of the Internet for health information seeking: a survey of local public health professionals in the northwest.

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  • 1Center for Public Health Informatics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


We conducted an on-line survey of 164 local health departments' staff in five Northwestern states in 2006-2007 to assess Internet access and use by staff. Most (96%) respondents had full-time access to their own worksite computer. The most important selection criterion for selecting Web sites was credibility of the sponsoring organization (55%). Accuracy (46%), reputable source (30%), and currency of information (19%) were considered most critical for assessing information quality. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (80%) and state health department (60%) sites were used most commonly. These findings can be used to improve public health Web sites and support decision making in practice.

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