Preferences of patients with inflammatory bowel disease for receiving specialized health services using technology: the role of Internet and other sources of medical information
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Introduction: It is notable that patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have insufficient knowledge about their disease and are willing to be more involved in their treatment. Nowadays medical information is easily available and health-related topics state the third most frequent reason for using the Internet. Therefore, patient’s health-related self-awareness and willingness to take part in medical decisions have improved. The possibility of choice of specialized health services may have a positive effect on patient’s satisfaction. The aim of the study was to characterize the extent of Internet use for health information among a representative sample of IBD patients and to examine the effects that Internet and other sources of information about specialized health services have on patients’ choices of a doctor and hospital department. Materials and methods: In total, 135 IBD patients admitted to the Department of General and Colorectal Surgery at Medical University of Lodz were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire. Only 123 fully completed questionnaires were included for analysis. The study group involved 68 women and 55 men. Results: A total of 85.4% IBD patients used Internet in order to gather medical information about their disease. Age of those patients was significantly lower than of those patients who did not use Internet. The most reliable source of information about physicians was Internet. Opinions and recommendations gathered from the Internet have a notable influence on patients’ preference of hospital department and attending physician. Conclusions: A majority of patients used Internet as a source of medical information related to IBD. Opinions obtained from the Internet seem to be the most reliable regarding attending physicians treating IBD patients.
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