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The influence of online health information on health decisions: a systematic review

Thapa, DK, Visentin, DC ORCID: 0000-0001-9961-4384, Kornhaber, R ORCID: 0000-0001-6556-6775, West, S and Cleary, M ORCID: 0000-0002-1453-4850 2020 , 'The influence of online health information on health decisions: a systematic review' , Patient Education and Counseling, vol. 104, no. 4 , pp. 770-784 , doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2020.11.016.

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AbstractObjectivesThis systematic review assessed the influence of online health information (OHI) search behaviour on health and medical decisions.MethodsEligible studies were identified by searching electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, and CINAHL in February 2020 for studies reporting OHI search behaviour and its influence on health decisions. Information was extracted pertaining to either consumers’ (self-reported) perceptions of the influence of OHI on decision-making or the association between online search behaviour and health decision-making.ResultsA total of 3995 articles were screened, with 48 included in the final analysis. The reviewed studies indicated that OHI assisted in making subsequent health related decisions such as asking questions during a consultation, increased professional visits, improved adherence to the advice of a physician, being more compliant with taking medication, and improved self-care.ConclusionConsumers largely used OHI to support information provided by their physicians. The strength of the patient-provider relationship was considered important in moderating the potential negative outcomes of OHI.Practice implicationsHealth care systems have a unique opportunity to direct OHI search behaviours towards empowering consumers to engage as an informed, active and joint decision-maker in their own health care.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Thapa, DK and Visentin, DC and Kornhaber, R and West, S and Cleary, M
Keywords: consumers, decisions, health care, online health information, systematic review
Journal or Publication Title: Patient Education and Counseling
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ireland Ltd
ISSN: 0738-3991
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.pec.2020.11.016
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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

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