Seeking health information online: Does limited healthcare access matter?

Neeraj Bhandari, Yunfeng Shi, Kyoungrae Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Consumers facing barriers to healthcare access may use online health information seeking and online communication with physicians, but the empirical relationship has not been sufficiently analyzed. Our study examines the association of barriers to healthcare access with consumers' health-related information searching on the internet, use of health chat groups, and email communication with physicians, using data from 27 210 adults from the 2009 National Health Interview Survey. Individuals with financial barriers to healthcare access, difficulty getting timely appointments with doctors, and conflicts in scheduling during clinic hours are more likely to search for general health information online than those without these access barriers. Those unable to get timely appointments with physicians are more likely to participate in health chat groups and email physicians. The internet may offer a low-cost source of health information and could help meet the heightened demand for health-related information among those facing access barriers to care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1113-1117
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


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