ASIS&T 2006 START Conference Manager    

PROPOSED SYMPOSIUM: Health Information Seeking in the E-Health Era: Evidence from the National Cancer Institute's Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS)

Mia Liza A. Lustria (organizer); Darrell Burke; Kyunghye Kim; Nahyun Kwon; Donald O. Case (moderator)

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Abstract

Recent years has seen a dramatic change in the health information environment, particularly in relation to the increasing availability of health information via electronic format. E-health, is generally defined as "an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies" (Eysenbach, 2001) . Certainly, the Internet has in many ways changed the way how individuals: seek health information, make healthcare decisions, and interact with their primary care providers (Dutta-Berman, 2004; Kivits, 2004; Ziebland, 2004). There is rife evidence regarding the popularity of the Internet as a health information source (Fox, 2005; Rideout, 2001; Rideout, Neuman, Kitchman, & Brodie, 2005). In 2005, the Pew Internet & American Life Project, estimated that close to 95 million Americans or 80% of Internet users have gone online to search for information on at least one major health topic. The notion of "informed patient" in the electronic era has changed and may have many implications on a number of issues including:

1. How is health information seeking behavior related to health decision making and health behaviors? Specifically, how is this different in the e-health era?

2. How has health information source selection behavior changed in the e-health era? What are the implications of these on the type of literacies consumers need to develop to cope with these changes? (e.g., health literacy, health information literacy, information and communication technology literacy)?

3. How can health information sources and services be improved to address the information needs of: active and passive information seekers; literate and low-literate populations; etc?

In 2003, the National Cancer Institute, launched a national survey designed to gather data about the health information seeking behaviors of adults 18 years and older. The survey gathers representative data about how the American public seeks and uses health information, particularly cancer information. According to NCI (2005) the survey:

- Provides updates on changing patterns, needs, and information opportunities in health

- Identifies changing communications trends and practices

- Assesses cancer information access and usage

- Provides information about how cancer risks are perceived

- Offers a testbed to researchers to test new theories in health communication

The first data collection was conducted in 2002-2003 via telephone through random digit dialing. About 6,639 Americans participated in the survey. Most of the respondents were white (75.9%); 40 years of age or older (63%) and female (60.4%). Most of the current research done using the HINTS dataset has been conducted by researchers in the fields of health communication, public health, nursing, and medicine.

This symposium features the preliminary results of investigations using the dataset by library and information science scholars. Our hope is to examine various issues surrounding health information seeking behaviors in the e-health era (using this rich dataset) from the perspective of library and information science.


  
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