Consulting the Internet before visit to general practice. Patients' use of the Internet and other sources of health information

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2002 Sep;20(3):174-6. doi: 10.1080/028134302760234645.


Objectives: To describe where patients in Danish general practice get information about health and disease, particularly how patients prepare for a visit to their GP, with special reference to use of the lnternet.

Design: Structured interviews.

Setting: Four Danish general

Patients: 93 consecutive patients after visiting their GP.

Main outcome measures: The patient's report about we of the Internet and different mass media in preparation for the consultation.

Results: Only two patients never looked for health information. Of all patients, 20% had used the Internet to get health information, 8% because of the current visit, i.e. a third of all with Internet access had used it because of the current visit. Women used the sources of information more than men did. Personal contact with family, friends or neighbours was the most commonly used source.

Conclusion: The Internet is used in direct preparation for a visit to the general practitioner. The vast majority of patients use the mass media for information. In general practice, the main source of information on a health-related subject is personal contact with family and friends.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Denmark
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Services / classification
  • Information Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Office Visits
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Participation*