Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

The internet as a source of health information in three disparate communities

Jared Dart

Australian Health Review 32(3) 559 - 569
Published: 2008


A survey questionnaire was designed and implemented across three different communities to determine the current utilisation, importance, trust and future preference for the internet as a source of health information in three different socioeconomic groups. The following were the key results. Fewer respondents in the low socioeconomic group accessed online health information than the mid-high socioeconomic or university samples. The internet was a much more important source of health information for the university sample. The use of online health information and the importance ascribed to the internet as a source of health information was related to home internet access and the frequency of internet use in all three populations. Most respondents do not bring online health information to their doctor (>70% of those who access online health information). Age alone did not relate to the current use of the internet as a source of health information. Most respondents in all populations did not trust the internet. In all populations the internet was a more preferred source of health information than its current use would suggest, especially among those with home internet access and frequent users of the internet.

© AHHA 2008

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