The value of patient choice, self care, and patient and public involvement has been increasingly noted in the health sector. These aims cannot be achieved unless people can access high quality health information. Traditionally, health information has been based on facts and figures of the illness, and very few of them contained information on patient’s experiences (PEx). It is argued that people seek more than scientific facts. They want to know more about how other people with the same condition have experienced, and be able to share their own experience with others. Knowing other people’s experience has the potential to affect decision making, reduce one sense of isolation, and improve adjustment to the disease. At the same time, there are also concerns that PEx might have a negative effect of an individual if the experience of others contains strong emotional content, or is not directly relevant. This project will examine how people use, search for, and select PEx in online health sites or online support groups, and how exposure to PEx might influence recall and health decisions. Understanding how people use PEx online might have important implications for health care professionals on whether, when, and how they should incorporate PEx into online health information sites or online support groups.
For more information go to http://www.ipexonline.org/