Dr Google as the source of health information – the results of pilot qualitative study
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Department of Prevention of Environmental Hazards and Allergology, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
Submission date: 2016-06-22
Acceptance date: 2017-02-16
Online publication date: 2017-06-30
Publication date: 2019-12-20
Corresponding author
Anna Kłak   

Department of Prevention of Environmental Hazards and Allergology, Medical University of Warsaw, Banacha 1a, 02–097 Warsaw, Poland.
Pol. Ann. Med. 2017;24(2):188-193
Google is the most popular search engine that covers nearly 90% of the total online searches. It is likely to be used by both, patients and physicians to look for health information.

The objective of the study was to find out deep motives for using the Internet to obtain health information.

Material and methods:
Anonymous study was carried out with the use of individual in-depth interviews (IDI). As many as 20 persons participated in the study (10 women and 10 men). The IDI scenario included the questions on health, the Internet as the source of health information and the credibility of information published online.

Results and discussion:
The majority of respondents (15 persons) admit that they sometimes search the Internet for health information because of curiosity, concern, and motivation to increase knowledge as well as broad and quick access to the network. The respondents search for useful information when the information provided by a physician and medical terms are incomprehensible or when the therapy prescribed by a physician is ineffective. For the majority of respondents Internet portals dedicated to one topic only are the most credible.

Women search the Internet for health information more often than men and the scope of their search is broader. The Internet helps to shape basic knowledge, makes it possible to formulate questions asked to the physician and to understand the information provided by a physician.

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