Cancer patients information seeking behavior related to online electronic healthcare records

Patients online access to their EHR together with the rapid proliferation of medical information on the Internet has changed how patients use information to learn about their health. Patients tendency to turn to the Internet to find information about their health and care is well-documented. However, little is known about patients information seeking behavior when using online EHRs. By using information horizons as an analytical tool this paper aims to investigate the information behavior of cancer patients who have chosen to view their EHRs (readers) and to those who have not made that option (non-readers). Thirty interviews were conducted with patients. Based on information horizons, it seems that non-reading is associated with living in a narrower information world in comparison to readers. The findings do not suggest that the smallness would be a result of active avoidance of information, or that it would be counterproductive for the patients. The findings suggest, however, that EHRs would benefit from comprehensive linking to authoritative health information sources to help users to understand their contents. In parallel, healthcare professionals should be more aware of their personal role as a key source of health information to those who choose not to read their EHRs.
Year of Publication
Health Informatics Journal
Date Published
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