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Retrieving e-Health Research: The Challenge of Accessing the Knowledge

Davis, Richard Lustria, Mia Liza A. Brown, Linda

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


Abstract

The Internet has increasingly become a viable tool for delivering interventions to promote better health behaviors and manage diseases. As an informational and communication tool, it leverages the broad reach of mass media with the interactive features of interpersonal channels. As such, the past 10 years has seen a proliferation of pilot studies, evaluative studies and randomized controlled trials designed to test the efficacy of web-based interventions on health outcomes. These efficacy studies look at a variety of ways Internet-based interventions (e-health) can be used across a number of health conditions and in different contexts. In particular, the last two to three years has seen a significant increase in efficacy studies of web-based interventions published in the literature across different disciplines. The challenge of this from a scholarly perspective is that the sheer number of different ways the literature has been described and indexed has made it increasingly difficult for scholars to locate relevant articles and draw clear conclusions about the efficacy of web-based interventions across disparate fields of interest. This study explores how this field of inquiry has grown and matured in the past 10 years by examining the growth of the literature specific to Internet-based health interventions and to explore the changes in terminologies used to describe this field. A frequency analysis of keywords used to describe web-based health intervention studies was conducted on over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and a listing of high-value keywords were generated. The results of this study will be of specific use to researchers interested in web-based health interventions and will be of practical value in aiding their literature searches. This keyword analysis also reveals interesting insights into the development of an emerging interdisciplinary field of inquiry based on how scholarly activities are being described and/or represented across disciplines and specializations.


  
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