Department of Quantitative Health Sciences
Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Health Communication | Health Services Research | Neoplasms | Oncology
BACKGROUND: The need to understand preferred sources of health information remains important to providing patient-centered care. The Internet remains a popular resource for health information, but more traditional sources may still be valid for patients during a recent health need. This study sought to understand the characteristics of patients that turn to their doctor or healthcare provider first for a recent health or medical information need.
METHODS: Using the national cross-sectional survey, Health Information National Trend Study [HINTS], characteristics of those who sought a doctor or healthcare provider for a recent health information need were compared to other sources. Weighted survey responses from Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 of the HINTS survey were used for multivariable logistic regression.
RESULTS: A total 5,307 patient responses were analyzed. Overall, those who seek a doctor or healthcare provider first for a health need are female, 46-64 years, White non-Hispanic, educated, in good health and users of the Internet. Yet, adjusted logistic regressions showed that those who sought a doctor or healthcare provider first during a recent health information need compared to other sources were most likely to be 65+ years, in poor health, less educated and have health insurance.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients who seek their doctor or healthcare provider first for health information rather than other sources of information represent a unique population. Doctors or healthcare providers remain an important resource for these patients during recent needs, despite the wide use of the Internet as a source of health information.
Health information needs, Sources for health information, Doctor-patient communication, National cross-sectional survey
Rights and Permissions
© 2014 Volkman et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
DOI of Published Version
BMC Fam Pract. 2014 Jun 6;15:111. doi: 10.1186/1471-2296-15-111. Link to article on publisher's website.
BMC family practice [electronic resource]
Volkman, Julie E.; Luger, Tana M.; Harvey, Kimberly L.L.; Hogan, Timothy P.; Shimada, Stephanie L.; Amante, Daniel J.; McInnes, D. Keith; Feng, Hua; and Houston, Thomas K., "The National Cancer Institute's Health Information National Trends Survey [HINTS]: a national cross-sectional analysis of talking to your doctor and other healthcare providers for health information" (2014). Open Access Articles. 2455.