Physicians' perception of the effects of Internet health information on the doctor-patient relationship

Inform Health Soc Care. 2009 Sep;34(3):136-48. doi: 10.1080/17538150903102422.


The objective of the study was to determine physician's perception of the effects of health information on the internet on doctor-patient relationship. Online questionnaire with 25 items were sent to the Korean physicians' e-mail, and 493 replied. Eight-nine percent of the Korean physicians reported they had experiences of patients discussing the Internet health information. They perceived that Internet health information may enhance the patients' knowledge about their health. However, they perceived that Internet health information may have variety of negative effects such as; heightening the cost of health care by adopting the inappropriate health service utilisation (56.2%); making the patients over-concerned about their health (74.5%); damaging the time efficiency of the visit (60.9%). The physicians deemed that those informations were not relevant to the patients' health condition (42.7%), and even were not correct (39.0%). Physicians' perception of the Internet health information is both positive and negative, and they perceive the overall effects on doctor-patient relationship as neutral. More physicians think the discussion could be the hindrance on the efficient time management during their visits. However, more physicians have positive perception of the effects on the quality of care and patient outcomes which is promising.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Consumer Health Information / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Korea
  • Male
  • Medicine
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians*
  • Specialization