Preventive health information on the Internet. Qualitative study of consumers' perspectives

Can Fam Physician. 2001 Sep;47:1759-65.


Objective: To explore how best to make high-quality preventive health information available to consumers on the Internet.

Design: Focus groups.

Setting: Three urban workplaces and one local hospital with patients from a rural family medical practice.

Participants: Twenty-two men and 17 women patients.

Method: Qualitative survey of four focus groups, analysis of transcripts and researchers' notes.

Main findings: Five themes characterized participants' perceptions of a consumer website of evidence-based preventive guidelines: content expectations, website design, trustworthiness of content, marketing, and the implications of consumer health information on the Internet.

Conclusion: Consumers want preventive health information both for taking care of themselves and for participating in a more informed way in their health care when they see a physician. Findings of this study reveal some ways in which consumers' use of Internet health information can affect physicians' and other health professionals' work.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Consumer Advocacy*
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Humans
  • Information Services*
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preventive Medicine*
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population
  • Workplace