Use of the Internet by burns patients, their families and friends

Suzanne Rea, J. Lim, S. Falder, Fiona Wood

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Introduction: The Internet has also become an increasingly important source of health-related information. However, with this exponential increase comes the problem that although the volume of information is huge, the quality, accuracy and completeness of the information are questionable, not only in the field of medicine. Previous studies of single medical conditions have suggested that web-based health information has limitations. The aim of this study was to evaluate Internet usage among burned patients and the people accompanying them to the outpatient clinic.Methods: A customised questionnaire was created and distributed to all patients and accompanying persons in the adult and paediatric burns clinics. This investigated computer usage, Internet access, usefulness of Internet search and topics searched. Results: Two hundred and ten people completed the questionnaire, a response rate of 83%. Sixty three percent of responders were patients, parents 21.9%, spouses 3.3%, siblings, children and friends the remaining 10.8%. Seventy seven percent of attendees had been injured within the last year, 11% between 1 and 5 years previously, and 12% more than 5 years previously.Seventy four percent had computer and Internet access. Twelve percent had performed a search. Topics searched included skin grafts, scarring and scar management treatments such as pressure garments, silicone gel and massage.Discussion: This study has shown that computer and Internet access is high, however a very small number actually used the Internet to access further medical information. Patients with longer standing injuries were more likely to access the Internet. Parents of burned children were more frequent Internet users. As more burn units develop their own web sites with information for patients and healthcare providers, it is important to inform patients, family members and friends that such a resource exists. By offering such a service patients are provided with accurate, reliable and easily accessible information which is appropriate to their needs. (C) 2007 Published by Elsevier Ltd and ISBI.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)345-349
    JournalBurns
    Volume34
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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