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Information Seeking and Source Selection Among ePatients: Findings from the HINTS 2005

Kyunghye Kim and Nahyun Kwon

(Submission #57)


This study is a secondary analysis of the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), a survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute and participated in by 5,586 randomly chosen Americans. The current study focuses on a subset of this dataset and includes the responses of ePatients (n=297) people with history of cancer researching cancer topics from the Internet-, and other cancer information seekers (n=1,719). A series of t-tests and chi-square tests were conducted to obtain insight into the socio-demographic, communication, and information-seeking characteristics the two groups possess. Compared to other cancer information seekers, ePatients were older; poorly employed or retired; more likely to have health coverage (insurance or Medicare, etc.); non-immigrant; more likely to email to doctors; more frequently talk about their health issues to friends or family; more likely to trust information from the Internet; less likely to trust information from family or friends; and more likely to have higher search expertise. More than half of the ePatients used the Internet for their primary information source, but they chose doctors over the Internet as the most preferred information source. The findings reveal five patterns in information and communication behaviors of ePatients. Implications from HINTS 2005 for health information providers were suggested.


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