Understanding Health Information Seeking from an Actor-Centric Perspective

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jul 15;12(7):8103-24. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120708103.


This paper presents a conceptual approach for discussing health information seeking among poor households in Africa and Asia. This approach is part of a larger research endeavor aimed at understanding how health systems are adapting; with possibilities and constraints emerging. These health systems can be found in a context of the changing relationships between states, markets and civil society in low and middle income countries. The paper starts from an understanding of the health sector as a "health knowledge economy", organized to provide people with access to knowledge and advice. The use of the term "health knowledge economy" draws attention to the ways the health sector is part of a broader knowledge economy changing the way individuals and households obtain and use specialist information. The paper integrates an actor centric approach with the theory of planned behavior. It seeks to identify the actors engaged in the health knowledge economy as a precursor to longer term studies on the uptake of innovations integrating health services with mobile phones, commonly designated as mHealth, contributing to an understanding of the potential vulnerabilities of poor people, and highlighting possible dangers if providers of health information and advice are strongly influenced by interest groups.

Keywords: Bangladesh; ICT; health information seeking; mobiles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bangladesh
  • Cell Phone*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine*
  • Wireless Technology