DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20204379

Health information seeking on the internet (Dr Google) and its effect on doctor-patient relationship: a cross-sectional study from Central Karnataka

Rachna Shekhar, Sandhya Rani Javalkar

Abstract


Background: The Internet has proven to be a powerful vehicle for the dissemination of information and the use of Internet by the patients as a source of information on health and disease is increasing rapidly. It has reformed the doctor-patient relationship by empowering patients with information. The objective was to study the trends of patient’s health information seeking behaviour on the internet and its effects on the doctor-patient relationship.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted amongst the 73 doctors and 110 patients attending the tertiary health care centre, Davanagere. A pre-tested and pre-validated questionnaire was used to collect data. Percentages and Proportions were used to summarize the study variables.

Results: The most common search engine used was Google i.e. 92% and majority of them looked up symptoms/ disease condition 80%. 57% respondents verified doctor’s advice. 73% respondents stated that they used online health information for self-diagnosis but less than 10% of respondents took medications mentioned online. The doctors (60%) stated that the patient’s Internet use proves that the patient or his/her family are involved and take responsibility. However, 49.3% of doctors stated that they get uncomfortable when presented with online health information by the patients.

Conclusions: Doctors are starting to recognize the use of the internet by patients as a source of health information. Patients consider the internet as a supplementary resource for better understanding of symptoms and diagnosis. The need of the hour is better communication between doctor and patients; and availability of reliable web-based health resources to patients for better compliance.


Keywords


Doctor-patient relationship, Health information, Internet

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