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Online health information seeking: How people with multiple sclerosis find, assess and integrate treatment information to manage their health

Version 2 2024-05-30, 15:17
Version 1 2014-11-20, 14:15
journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-30, 15:17 authored by AJ Synnot, SJ Hill, KA Garner, MP Summers, G Filippini, RH Osborne, SD Shapland, C Colombo, P Mosconi
Background and objective: The Internet is increasingly prominent as a source of health information for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). But there has been little exploration of the needs, experiences and preferences of people with MS for integrating treatment information into decision making, in the context of searching on the Internet. This was the aim of our study. Design: Sixty participants (51 people with MS; nine family members) took part in a focus group or online forum. They were asked to describe how they find and assess reliable treatment information (particularly online) and how this changes over time. Thematic analysis was underpinned by a coding frame. Results: Participants described that there was both too much information online and too little that applied to them. They spoke of wariness and scepticism but also empowerment. The availability of up-to-date and unbiased treatment information, including practical and lifestyle-related information, was important to many. Many participants were keen to engage in a 'research partnership' with health professionals and developed a range of strategies to enhance the trustworthiness of online information. We use the term 'self-regulation' to capture the variations in information seeking behaviour that participants described over time, as they responded to their changing information needs, their emotional state and growing expertise about MS. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

History

Journal

Health Expectations

Volume

19

Pagination

727-737

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1369-6513

eISSN

1369-7625

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal, C Journal article

Copyright notice

2016, Wiley

Issue

3

Publisher

Wiley