Informed patients and the internet: a mediated context for consultations with health professionals

Joëlle Kivits
Journal of Health Psychology 2006, 11 (2): 269-82
This article investigates how individuals' use of the Internet for finding health information may affect the relationship between health professionals and patients. It explores people's rationales for searching for information online, the information selection process and the implications for doctor-patient interactions. Qualitative interviews were conducted by email with 31 health information seekers. Study findings show the importance of the 'everyday' in orientating health information searches and of personal experience in navigating a multiplicity of online sources. Interviewees emphasize the primary role of the doctor-patient relationship for delivering health and medical information, their Internet searches complementing rather than opposing professional expertise.

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