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Consumer health informatics: an overview of patient perspectives on health information needs

Aditi Dey
Health Information Management (Australia) 2004, 33 (4): 121-6
18239231
Patients are increasingly expressing their need for more information about their health. Different healthcare professionals provide a range of information to their patients during delivery of care. By means of a detailed literature search and a study of available evidence, this article explores patients' perspectives in gaining health-related information from the healthcare system, with particular emphasis on patients who come in contact with breast cancer services. The literature review indicates that the main issues concerning health information available to consumers can be divided into the following sections: quantity of information (amount of information, number of sources, types and strategies for distribution); quality of information (validity, relevance, accessibility, understandability, timing of acquisition); and consumer/patient factors (age, health status, empowerment to make decisions). Information-seeking behaviour of consumers should be considered as part of a broader environmental and role-related context. The acquisition of information and the decision to seek information (either personally or using the help or services of other people) is affected by stress, perception of risk, hope for reward and perceived level of self-efficacy.

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