Open Access Dissertation
Date of Award
Debra L. Schutte
ONLINE HEALTH INFORMATION GATHERING AND HEALTH SERVICE UTILIZATION BY EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT PATIENTS WITH ACUTE, NON-URGENT ILLNESS SYMPTOMS
JOANNE M. YASTIK
Advisor: Dr. Deborah Schutte
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Statement of the Problem: The influence of the Internet on our global society cannot be overstated. One of the most utilized areas on the Internet is the quest for health information (Bouche & Migeot, 2008; Goldman & Macpherson, 2006; Warner & Procaccino, 2007, Seckin, 2014). To date, little is known on how this information is being used or whether there is a link between online health information seeking and health service utilization, including location of care or appropriateness of the level of care. As ED patients comprise a large proportion of those seeking health care, and it is recognized that many ED visits are not appropriate, and costlier when compared with other locations of care, it is imperative that current research examines the potential correlation of online health information seeking with ED health service utilization. The purpose of this research was to examine the online health information-seeking practices of Emergency Department (ED) patients when experiencing acute, non-urgent illness symptoms.
Methods: This study used a quantitative research methodology with a descriptive/correlational design. An investigator-developed questionnaire was used to measure online health information seeking and the decision to utilize the Emergency Department. Seventy-four patients were surveyed with a mean age of 43.
Results: Overall findings were consistent with demographics of Internet users in that 74% of participants utilized the internet for health information, with 24.3% reporting use of WebMD. Women and those with higher education are more likely to utilize the Internet for health information. Abdominal pain, chest pain and headache emerged as high frequency symptoms as reasons for ED visit. Information found on the Internet was not a determinant when seeking care in the ED. Nearly 98% of participants reported their perceived symptom severity as emergent or urgent. The amount of time participants spent seeking information was widely varied and should be the basis for future research.
Conclusion: The findings will provide a foundation for other researchers investigating ED patient use of online health information. Findings can be used to tailor education to improve patients online health information seeking and ED utilization experiences.
Yastik, Joanne, "Online Health Information Gathering And Health Service Utilization By Emergency Department Patients With Acute, Non-Urgent Illness Symptoms" (2017). Wayne State University Dissertations. 1759.