Online Health Searches and Their Perceived Effects on Patients and Patient-Clinician Relationships: A Systematic Review

Jane Wang, Tamara Ashvetiya, Emmanuel Quaye, Kapil Parakh, Seth Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Online health searches are common and may be impacting patients and their relationships with their clinicians in ways that are not fully understood. We searched PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Reviews, Cochrane Trials, Scopus, and CINAHL from January 1, 1990 to January 29, 2016 for studies in which patients searched online for any aspect of health care and then visited their clinician. We extracted data pertaining to either patients’ or clinicians’ perceptions of the effects of these online searches on patients and the patient-clinician relationship. Searches seemed to induce patient anxiety but more often led to patient reassurance, clinical understanding, and empowerment. Patients tended to perceive that online health searches had a positive effect on the patient-clinician relationship, although the nature of the effect could depend on the clinician's response to patient queries about the information. Clinicians generally perceived neutral effects on patients and the patient-clinician relationship and commonly raised concerns about the accuracy of online content. Significant methodologic heterogeneity prevented quantitative synthesis. Accuracy of online health search content was not assessed, and randomized controlled trials were notably lacking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Health
PubMed
Anxiety
Randomized Controlled Trials
Delivery of Health Care

Keywords

  • Health search
  • Internet accuracy
  • Internet health search
  • Online health search
  • Patient-clinician relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Online Health Searches and Their Perceived Effects on Patients and Patient-Clinician Relationships : A Systematic Review. / Wang, Jane; Ashvetiya, Tamara; Quaye, Emmanuel; Parakh, Kapil; Martin, Seth.

In: American Journal of Medicine, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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