Health-related internet use by lupus patients in southern Spain

Clin Rheumatol. 2014 Apr;33(4):567-73. doi: 10.1007/s10067-013-2395-z. Epub 2013 Oct 6.


Internet has become a widely used tool by patients seeking information on different diseases. The information regarding lupus patients' Internet use is scarce. This study aims to explore the attitudes and practices of lupus patients in southern Spain, regarding Internet use to find health-related information. A survey was carried out including 150 patients from six Andalusian Hospitals. To search for information, 67.3 % of the patients used Internet. The proportion of female Internet users was higher (69.3 vs 46.2 %), particularly those belonging to a patients' association (81.8 vs 32.7 %), and are regular users of Internet (80.2 vs 44.4 %); 37.5 % thought the information found in the Internet was of little use or not useful at all, and 58 % of the respondents stated that the information found caused them concern while for 27 %, it was a relief. Most patients preferred the information given by their physicians (63.6 %); 33.9 % considered that the information from both sources was complementary, and 2.5 % preferred the information obtained from the Internet. A percentage of 85.3 of the patients would like their physicians to provide them with information on high-quality sites regarding their illness. Lupus patients make frequent use of the Internet to look for information on their disease. Considering this, and because better-informed patients follow more precisely the indications given by the physician, medical staff should collaborate in the development of high-quality sites for the patient to have additional sources of information.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Internet*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Distribution
  • Spain
  • Surveys and Questionnaires