Internet Use Frequency and Patient-Centered Care: Measuring Patient Preferences for Participation Using the Health Information Wants Questionnaire (HIWQ)

Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2013 (Jul 01); 15(7):e132

Posted: 4 Aug 2015

See all articles by Xie Bo

Xie Bo

University of Texas at Austin

Mo Wang

University of Florida - Department of Management

Robert Feldman

Independent

Le Zhou

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Date Written: July 2013

Abstract

Background: The Internet is bringing fundamental changes to medical practice through improved access to health information and participation in decision making. However, patient preferences for participation in health care vary greatly. Promoting patient-centered health care requires an understanding of the relationship between Internet use and a broader range of preferences for participation than previously measured.

Objective: To explore (1) whether there is a significant relationship between Internet use frequency and patients’ overall preferences for obtaining health information and decision-making autonomy, and (2) whether the relationships between Internet use frequency and information and decision-making preferences differ with respect to different aspects of health conditions.

Methods: The Health Information Wants Questionnaire (HIWQ) was administered to gather data about patients’ preferences for the (1) amount of information desired about different aspects of a health condition, and (2) level of decision-making autonomy desired across those same aspects.

Results: The study sample included 438 individuals: 226 undergraduates (mean age 20; SD 2.15) and 212 community-dwelling older adults (mean age 72; SD 9.00). A significant difference was found between the younger and older age groups’ Internet use frequencies, with the younger age group having significantly more frequent Internet use than the older age group (younger age group mean 5.98, SD 0.33; older age group mean 3.50, SD 2.00; t 436=17.42, P<.01). Internet use frequency was positively related to the overall preference rating (γ=.15, P<.05), suggesting that frequent Internet users preferred significantly more information and decision making than infrequent Internet users. The relationships between Internet use frequency and different types of preferences varied: compared with infrequent Internet users, frequent Internet users preferred more information but less decision making for diagnosis (γ=.57, P<.01); more information and more decision-making autonomy for laboratory test (γ=.15, P<.05), complementary and alternative medicine (γ=.32, P<.01), and self-care (γ=.15, P<.05); and less information but more decision-making autonomy for the psychosocial (γ=-.51, P<.01) and health care provider (γ=-.27, P<.05) aspects. No significant difference was found between frequent and infrequent Internet users in their preferences for treatment information and decision making.

Conclusions: Internet use frequency has a positive relationship with the overall preferences for obtaining health information and decision-making autonomy, but its relationship with different types of preferences varies. These findings have important implications for medical practice.

Keywords: patient-centered care, patient preference, shared decision-making, patient participation, Internet

Suggested Citation

Bo, Xie and Wang, Mo and Feldman, Robert and Zhou, Le, Internet Use Frequency and Patient-Centered Care: Measuring Patient Preferences for Participation Using the Health Information Wants Questionnaire (HIWQ) (July 2013). Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2013 (Jul 01); 15(7):e132 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2639307

Xie Bo

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Mo Wang (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Department of Management ( email )

United States

Robert Feldman

Independent

No Address Available

Le Zhou

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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