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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 160-164

Knowledge, attitude, and use of internet for medical information by patients attending specialist clinics in ABUTH Zaria-Nigeria

1 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Aliyu A Alhaji
Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2384-5147.172435

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Background: Internet is a relatively new medium of disseminating health information. Studies on Internet usage for health information among patients have mainly been done in developed countries, and very few studies have been carried out in developing world. Objectives: These were to determine the percentage of patients attending specialist clinics that use Internet for health information, describe types of information sought and if patients share the information with their physicians. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study. Stratified sampling with equal allocation was done from four specialist clinics and respondents were then selected by simple random sampling. Results: One hundred and ninety-four respondents participated in the study. The mean age of respondents was 31.24 ± 1.0 years. Majority were computer-literate 135 (69.60%) and had tertiary education 108 (55.70%). Sources of access to Internet and search engines used were phone set 167 (86.10%) and Google 147 (75.90%). Types of information sought on the Internet were on disease condition 55 (39.86%) and drug treatment 22 (15.94%); majority of respondents found the information useful 125 (64%) and shared it with their physicians. Educational status and not the age of respondents was significantly associated with computer literacy and Internet use (x2 = 46.03, df = 5, P = 0.001). Conclusion: The study revealed that respondents are knowledgeable on the use of Internet, how to search for information and a high proportion of the patients use it. With increasing access to mobile phones, Internet users will continue to rise overtime and so will demand for seeking medical information. Practical Implications: Health care professionals must acknowledge the use of Internet by their patients in search for knowledge, be ready to discuss such information and provide reliable guide to useful health websites.

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