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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-17

Use of internet for accessing healthcare information among patients in an outpatient department of a Tertiary Care Center

1 Final Year Student, AFMC, Pune, India
2 SSO (Health), HQWNC, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Surg Capt Sougat Ray
SSO (Health), HQWNC, Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_1_17

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Background: Health information is one of the most accessed topics online. Worldwide, about 4.5% of all Internet searches are for health-related informationand more than 70, 000 websites disseminate health information. However, critics question the quality and credibility of online health information as contents are mostly a result of limited research or are commercialised. There is a need to train people to locate relevant websites where they can efficiently retrieve evidence based information and evaluate the same. The study was conducted with the objectives of determining the prevalence of use of internet for accessing healthcare information amongst literate adult population in an urban area and to assess the association between the demography and the reasons of internet use. Methodology: We used an anonymous, cross sectional survey completed by a sample of out patients of 408 individuals who came to a tertiary care centre at Pune during the year 2015. The survey consisted of 17 questions related to behavioural, attitudinal and demographic items. Results: Out of the total of 408 individuals, 256 (63.2%) individuals used internet for health information though 332 (82.4%) of them were aware of authorised websites for health information and 69 (16.9%) thought information available in the internet can be harmful. Also, 63 out of 256 (24.6%) agreed to the fact that they ask questions to their doctors based on the information that they acquired from internet while surfing about that particular disease/ ailment. More individuals (p<0.05) who were working and who were educated, graduates and above, were using internet for health information. Conclusion: Our results suggest the great potential for using the internet to disseminate the information and awareness to the public about health and healthcare facilities. However, it is important to disseminate credible information from reliable and authorised websites assigned for health since online healthcare information can reach target masses within a very short span of time.

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