Impact of internet use on health-related behaviors and the patient-physician relationship: a survey-based study and review

Suzy A Iverson, Kristin B Howard, Brian K Penney
Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 2008, 108 (12): 699-711

CONTEXT: Although patient use of online resources to locate health-related information is increasing, few large-scale studies investigating ramifications to patient health and the patient-physician relationship have been conducted in primary care or osteopathic medical settings.

OBJECTIVES: To describe online health information-seeking behaviors among patients. To evaluate the effects of this information on patient self-care and the patient-physician relationship.

METHODS: A standardized eight-question survey regarding Internet use and healthcare was given to patients at three osteopathic primary care medical clinics. A review of the literature is also included.

RESULTS: Of 154 patient responses received, 89 patients (58%) reported using the Internet to find health information. Slightly more than half of these individuals (49 [55%]) reported a change in the way they think about their health as a result of that information. In addition, most of these individuals (41 [46%]) reported making subsequent health-related behavioral changes. The largest segment of this population was aged 31 to 45 years (17 [57%]). They reported asking more questions during office visits (27 [66%]), following physician advice more closely (22 [54%]), and making self-directed dietary changes (22 [54%]). By and large, these patients informed their physicians of these changes (30 [73%]), especially as they believed physicians were willing to discuss the health information they obtained online (75 [84%]).

CONCLUSION: Although many concerns have been expressed about resulting changes in patient-physician dynamics, online information gathering has the potential to foster greater patient engagement in health maintenance and care.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"