Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Weir's 2009 report on NFL brain injuries got more attention than neurological findings published in 2005

Edin and Shaefer's book a call to action for Americans to deal with poverty

Weir says pain may underlie rise in suicide and substance-related deaths among white middle-aged Americans


MCubed opens for new round of seed funding, November 4-18

PSC News, fall 2015 now available

Barbara Anderson appointed chair of Census Scientific Advisory Committee

John Knodel honored by Thailand's Chulalongkorn University

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Dec 7 at noon, 6050 ISR-Thompson
Daniel Eisenberg, "Healthy Minds Network: Mental Health among College-Age Populations"

Mick P. Couper photo

Use of the Internet and Ratings of Information Sources for Medical Decisions: Results from the DECISIONS Survey

Publication Abstract

Couper, Mick P., Eleanor Singer, Carrie A. Levin, Floyd J. Fowler, Angela Fagerlin, and Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher. 2010. "Use of the Internet and Ratings of Information Sources for Medical Decisions: Results from the DECISIONS Survey." Medical Decision Making, 30(Suppl. 5): 106S-114S.

Background. The rise in Internet use for seeking health information raises questions about the role the Internet may play in how patients make medical decisions. Objective. To examine Internet use and perceived importance of different sources of information by patients making 9 specific medical decisions covering prescription medication initiation, cancer screening, and elective surgery. Setting. National sample of US adults identified by random-digit dialing. Design. Cross-sectional survey conducted between November 2006 and May 2007. Participants. The final sample comprised 2575 English-speaking US adults aged 40 y and older who had either undergone 1 of 9 medical procedures or tests or talked with a health care provider about doing so during the previous 2 y. Measurements. Participants indicated if they or other family members used the Internet to seek information related to each of the specific medical decisions and rated how important the health care provider, the Internet (if used), family and friends, and the media (newspapers, magazines, and television) were in providing information to help make the medical decision. Results. Use of the Internet for information related to specific decisions among adults 40 y and older was generally low (28%) but varied across decisions, from 17% for breast cancer screening to 48% for hip/knee replacement. Internet use was higher at younger ages, rising from 14% among those aged 70 y and older to 38% for those aged 40 to 49 y. Internet users consistently rated health care providers as the most influential source of information for medical decisions, followed by the Internet, family and friends, and media. Limitations. Telephone surveys are limited by coverage and nonresponse. The authors excluded health-related Internet use not associated with the 9 target decisions. Conclusions. A minority of patients reported using the Internet to make specific common medical decisions, but use varied widely by type of decision. Perhaps reflecting perceived risk and uncertainty, use was lowest for screening decisions and highest for surgical decisions.

DOI:10.1177/0272989X10377661 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States of America.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next