Provider-patient dialogue about Internet health information: an exploration of strategies to improve the provider-patient relationship

Carma L Bylund, Jennifer A Gueguen, Christina M Sabee, Rebecca S Imes, Yuelin Li, Amy Aldridge Sanford
Patient Education and Counseling 2007, 66 (3): 346-52

OBJECTIVE: This study examined patients' experiences talking to their providers about internet health information.

METHODS: Participants (n=770) recruited from internet health message boards completed an online survey, including questions focusing on a recent interaction with a provider about internet health information.

RESULTS: Face-saving patient introduction strategies were associated with providers validating patients' efforts. Providers' validation of patients' efforts was associated with higher patient ratings of satisfaction, validation, and reduced concern, while providers' disagreement with the information was associated with lower ratings. The provider taking the information seriously was associated with higher patient satisfaction.

CONCLUSION: An understanding of the occurrence of provider-patient talk about internet health information and its relationship to patient satisfaction, validation, and reduced concern is important for providers and medical educators who seek to better understand, and thus improve, provider-patient communication.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Showing the patient that the information is being seriously considered and validating the patients' efforts in researching the information may ameliorate some of the negative effects of disagreement.

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