Internet as a Source of Health Information and its Perceived Influence on Personal Empowerment

Internet as a Source of Health Information and its Perceived Influence on Personal Empowerment

Guy Paré (HEC Montréal, Canada), Jean-Nicolas Malek (HEC Montréal, Canada), Claude Sicotte (University of Montreal, Canada) and Marc Lemire (University of Montreal, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-988-5.ch060
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Abstract

The primary aim of this study is twofold. First, the authors seek to identify the factors that influence members of the general public to conduct Internet searches for health information. Their second intent is to explore the influence such Internet use has on three types of personal empowerment. In the summer of 2007 the authors conducted a household sample survey of a population of Canadian adults. A total of 261 self-administered questionnaires were returned to the researchers. Our findings indicate that use of the Internet as a source of health information is directly related to three main factors: sex, age and the individual’s perceived ability to understand, interpret and use the medical information available online. Further, their results lend support to the notion that using the Internet to search for information about health issues represents a more consumer based and participative approach to health care. This study is one of the first to relate Internet use to various forms of personal empowerment. This area appears to have great potential as a means by which consumers can become more empowered in managing personal health issues.

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