Send to

Choose Destination
Health Commun. 2018 Dec;33(12):1410-1424. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1353868. Epub 2017 Sep 5.

Web-based Health Information Seeking and eHealth Literacy among Patients Living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Author information

a Department of Health Education and Promotion , East Carolina University.
b Department of Health Outcomes and Policy , University of Florida.
c Department of Health Education and Behavior , University of Florida.
d Kinesiology Department , California Polytechnic State University.
e Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, College of Medicine , University of Florida.


Many people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have low general health literacy; however, there is little information available on these patients' eHealth literacy, or their ability to seek, find, understand, and appraise online health information and apply this knowledge to address or solve disease-related health concerns. A nationally representative sample of patients registered in the COPD Foundation's National Research Registry (N = 1,270) was invited to complete a web-based survey to assess socio-demographic (age, gender, marital status, education), health status (generic and lung-specific health-related quality of life), and socio-cognitive (social support, self-efficacy, COPD knowledge) predictors of eHealth literacy, measured using the 8-item eHealth literacy scale (eHEALS). Over 50% of the respondents (n = 176) were female (n = 89), with a mean age of 66.19 (SD = 9.47). Overall, participants reported moderate levels of eHealth literacy, with more than 70% feeling confident in their ability to find helpful health resources on the Internet. However, respondents were much less confident in their ability to distinguish between high- and low-quality sources of web-based health information. Very severe versus less severe COPD (β = 4.15), lower lung-specific health-related quality of life (β = -0.19), and greater COPD knowledge (β = 0.62) were significantly associated with higher eHealth literacy. Higher COPD knowledge was also significantly associated with greater knowledge (ρ = 0.24, p = .001) and use (ρ = 0.24, p = .001) of web-based health resources. Findings emphasize the importance of integrating skill-building activities into comprehensive patient education programs that enable patients with severe cases of COPD to identify high-quality sources of web-based health information. Additional research is needed to understand how new social technologies can be used to help medically underserved COPD patients benefit from web-based self-management support resources.

[Available on 2019-12-01]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center