An Empirical Note on Health Information Digital Divide: A Study of Indian Patients

An Empirical Note on Health Information Digital Divide: A Study of Indian Patients

Ajeya Jha (Department of Management Studies, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Rangpo, India) and Jaya Rani Pandey (Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Rangpo, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJABIM.2017040102
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Abstract

Availability of healthcare information on internet has made it possible for patients or their relatives to search for such information. This study was undertaken to find answers to such questions. In all 754 respondents participated in the survey. The variables selected from literature survey and exploratory study are Health Information Digital Divide, Income, Having E-mail id, access to internet, geographical location, Education, family-type, age and gender. As the data is categorical the significance of difference has been calculated using Chi-square test. Later discriminant analysis was conducted to predict patients who make online health information search and the ones who do not. The result show that Income, Having E-mail id, access to internet, geographical location, Education and gender are significant factors that determine the propensity of people for online healthcare search. Age and family-type, however, were found to have no impact on such a behavior. Using discriminant analysis 94.5 percent patients who make online health information search could be correctly predicted.
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Introduction

Human societies across the globe have had a great divide between the rich and the poor – “Haves” and Have-nots”. Earlier the divide was rooted in land – those who possessed it and those who were landless. Natural resources, industry, technology, language consolidated the divide in favour of “Haves.” It is a human endeavor to bridge this gap. Arrival of information technology has once again emerged as another factor in the divide. A digital divide implies socio-economic inequality in access to, use of, or impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) (US Department of Commerce, 1995). How does the digital divide affect healthcare information search is an important concept to ensure reasonable healthcare for all? Availability of healthcare information on internet has made it possible for patients or their relatives to search for such information. Considering the delicate nature of such an information as well as its great need felt by the society it is important to know who are these people who actively search for online healthcare information and also those who are unable to do so. This study was undertaken to find answers to such questions.

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