Patient education is known to improve satisfaction in and participation with treatment.
Dr Robert Cima and colleagues from Minnesota, USA assessed internet use by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients to gather general health- and disease-specific information.
|81% of patients had home internet access|
|Inflammatory Bowel Diseases|
The team performed a cross-sectional anonymous survey using a convenience sample of 175 patients at a tertiary-care institution's IBD clinic.
The researchers reported that 169 surveys were returned for analysis.
The median age of the patient was 46, of which 83 were men, 81 were women, and 5 were missing.
The team found in the known IBD patients, 85 had Crohn's disease and 62 had ulcerative colitis.
The researchers noted that 81% of patients had home internet access.
The most common information sources were gastroenterologists, internet, and primary-care physicians.
The research team found that 54% used the internet to gather IBD-specific information.
Age-specific use was 73%, 48%, 38%, in those under 40 years, 40 to 65 years, and those under 65 years, respectively.
There was a significant positive association between level of education and internet use, but not with income.
The research team observed internet sites most commonly visited were organization- or institution-specific.
The team found factors that most influenced a user's choice of an internet site were noncommercial status in 59%, and ease of use in 53%.
The majority of patients rated internet information trustworthy to very trustworthy.
Dr Cima's team concluded, "Over half of patients in an IBD clinic used the internet to gather IBD-specific information."
"Use was inversely associated with age and positively correlated with education level."
"There was no income association."
"These findings suggest web-based IBD information may become increasingly important in the future."