Online health information-seeking behaviour of patients attending a primary care clinic in Malaysia: A cross-sectional study

Lim, Hooi Min and Wong, Swee Shiuan and Yip, Kah Chun and Chang, Felicia Wen Si and Chin, Adrian Jian Zhi and Teo, Chin Hai and Abdullah, Adina and Ng, Chirk Jenn (2022) Online health information-seeking behaviour of patients attending a primary care clinic in Malaysia: A cross-sectional study. Family Practice, 39 (1). pp. 38-45. ISSN 0263-2136, DOI

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Background: The internet has become a common source of health information; however, little is known about online health information-seeking behaviour (HISB) among patients in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Objectives: This study aimed to determine the prevalence of online health information-seeking and its associated factors among patients in primary care in Malaysia. We also examined the reasons for, and the sources of, online health information-seeking, patients' level of trust in the information found and what the information was used for. Methods: A cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted on patients who attended a primary care clinic. The questionnaire included the use of the internet to seek health information, sources and types of health information, eHealth literacy, patients' trust in online information, and how patients appraise and use online health information. Results: Out of 381 patients in this study, 54.7% (n = 208) used the internet to search for health information. Patients mainly sought information via Google (96.2%) and the most common websites that they visited were Wikipedia (45.2%) and MyHEALTH (37.5%). Higher levels of education, longer duration of internet use, and higher eHealth literacy were significantly associated with online HISB. Patients' trust in websites (45.6%) and social media (20.7%) was low when compared to trust in healthcare professionals (87.9%). Only 12.9% (n = 22) of patients had discussed online health information with their doctors. Conclusion: Online HISB was common among primary care patients; however, their eHealth literacy was low, with suboptimal appraisal skills to evaluate the accuracy of online health information.

Item Type: Article
Funders: None
Uncontrolled Keywords: Consumer health informatics; Health information; Health literacy; Information-seeking behaviour; Internet; Primary care
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2023 03:49
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 03:49

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