Online health information seeking by adults hospitalized for acute coronary syndromes: Who looks for information, and who discusses it with healthcare providers

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine; Meyers Primary Care Institute; Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiovascular Diseases | Health Communication | Health Information Technology | Health Services Administration | Information Literacy | Public Health Education and Promotion | Translational Medical Research


OBJECTIVE: To describe characteristics associated with online health information-seeking and discussing resulting information with healthcare providers among adults with acute coronary syndromes (ACS).

METHODS: Consecutive patients hospitalized with ACS in 6 hospitals in Massachusetts and Georgia who reported Internet use in the past 4 weeks (online patients) were asked about online health information-seeking and whether they discussed information with healthcare providers. Participants reported demographic and psychosocial characteristics; clinical characteristics were abstracted from medical records. Logistic regression models estimated associations with information-seeking and provider communication.

RESULTS: Online patients (N=1142) were on average aged 58.8 (SD: 10.6) years, 30.3% female, and 82.8% non-Hispanic white; 56.7% reported online health information-seeking. Patients with higher education and difficulty accessing medical care were more likely to report information-seeking; patients hospitalized with myocardial infarction, and those with impaired health numeracy and limited social networks were less likely. Among information-seekers, 33.9% discussed information with healthcare providers. More education and more frequent online information-seeking were associated with provider discussions.

CONCLUSION: Over half of online patients with ACS seek health information online, but only 1 in 3 of these discuss information with healthcare providers.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Clinician awareness of patient information-seeking may enhance communication including referral to evidence-based online resources.


Acute coronary syndromes, Health information-seeking, Internet, Patient-provider communication, UMCCTS funding

DOI of Published Version



Patient Educ Couns. 2018 Nov;101(11):1973-1981. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2018.06.016. Epub 2018 Jun 30. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Patient education and counseling

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID