Currently accepted at: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Date Submitted: Sep 4, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Sep 4, 2019 - Oct 30, 2019
Date Accepted: Jan 24, 2020
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Attitudes of Nurses Towards Online Medical Information Searching for Personal Health Needs
Use of online clinical health care information has become part of the skill set required by medical teams. Nurses believe that the quality and availability of information affects nursing care and methods. However, nurses tend not to exploit professional medical databases for evidence-based medical information for their personal needs. This phenomenon has received little research attention.
The aim of our study was to address knowledge gaps in nurses' attitudes toward online searching for medical information for their personal needs (i.e. for themselves and their families) by: (1) Evaluating level of exposure to medical information based on attitudes toward the use of online search options; (2) Assessing the effect of choosing a primary means of searching for medical information on attitudes toward the use of online search options; and (3) Gauging the influence of socio-demographic data and nurse health status on their attitudes toward online searching for medical information.
Nurses employed in general departments in General Hospital (n=34), Nursing Home (n=42) and Geriatric Medical Center (n=45) in Israel were invited to fill out the e-Health Impact Questionnaire (α=0.95). The distribution of the questionnaires was carried out by nurses in charge of general hospitalization wards. The data collection period was February to March 2018. The response rate was 40.3% (N=121).
Nurses tended to search for medical information for personal needs on social media (19.75%) and TV (health programs, health news, etc.) (19.33%). Nurses who choose social media as their primary means of receiving general information had a positive attitude about using the online environment also as a source for medical information compared to nurses who receive information by other means (t(119)=4.44, p<.001). Nurses exposed to medical information via social media had a positive attitude towards the use of the internet for receiving medical information compared to nurses who didn't expose to social media (t(119)=3.04, p=.003). The attitudes of nurses towards the utility of online medical information for personal needs increased with improved participant health status (F(2,118)=3.63, p=.030). However, participants suffering from chronic disease did not differ from healthy participants in their attitudes.
Nurses in Israel are less likely not to use their professional skills and knowledge to search for evidence-based medical information using professional databases for their personal needs. Instead, they prefer easy to access non-evidence-based medical information on social media and TV. However, these personal use search patterns may affect their clinical role, impair quality of care, and lead to incorrect medical decisions for their patients in the health care system. Therefore, training for nurses in areas of search, retrieval skills and training in online search techniques for evidence-based medical information is vital during nursing education stages and for evidence-based practice.
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