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Consumer trust in health information on the web

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In the case of health information the quality and authenticity of the digital information have always been a matter of major concern for health and information professionals. This paper seeks to explore these concerns from the consumers' perspective. It addresses issues around the consumers' trust of health information. An online questionnaire was used to gather the data. Over a period of three weeks more than 1,300 people responded to the online questionnaire produced by The British Life and Internet Project: 81 per cent or 997 of the respondents were from the UK. A major finding was that half the respondents believed only some or even none of the health information found on the web and 45 per cent said that they had found misleading health information. This was found to be truer for respondents who surfed around. Thus respondents who used five or more sites to inform them were more likely to have found misleading information. Finally, data are presented to show that data collected from another independent study, conducted on behalf of the Department of Health, come to many of the same conclusions.
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Keywords: Information services; Personal health; Trust; Worldwide web

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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