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dc.contributor.authorRedston, Sarah
dc.contributor.authorde Botte, Sharon
dc.contributor.authorSmith, Carl
dc.identifier.citationRedston , S , de Botte , S & Smith , C 2018 , ' Resolving embarrassing medical conditions with online health information ' , International Journal of Medical Informatics , vol. 114 , pp. 101-105 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 252641226
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 0cd85867-45d2-4df5-80e8-c84ee0c203f2
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85044523706
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0003-3285-0379/work/47136193
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000430172700013
dc.description.abstractPurpose: Reliance on online health information is proliferating and the Internet has the potential to revolutionize the provision of public health information. The anonymity of online health information may be particularly appealing to people seeking advice on ‘embarrassing' health problems. The purpose of this study was to investigate (1) whether data generated by the health information site showed any temporal patterns in problem resolution, and (2) whether successful resolution of a medical problem using online information varied with the type of medical problem. Methods We analyzed the responses of visitors to the website on the resolution of their problems. The dataset comprised 100,561 responses to information provided on 77 different embarrassing problems grouped into 9 classes of medical problem over an 82-month period. Data were analyzed with a Bernoulli Generalized Linear Model using Bayesian inference. Results: We detected a statistically important interaction between embarrassing problem type and the time period in which data were collected, with an improvement in problem resolution over time for all of the classes of medical problem on the website but with a lower rate of increase in resolution for urinary health problems and medical problems associated with the mouth and face. As far as we are aware, this is the first analysis of data of this nature. Conclusions: Findings support the growing recognition that online health information can contribute to the resolution of embarrassing medical problems, but demonstrate that outcomes may vary with medical problem type. The results indicate that building data collection into online information provision can help to refine and focus health information for online users.
dc.relation.ispartofInternational Journal of Medical Informaticsen
dc.rights© 2018, Elsevier B.V. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at
dc.subjectHealth communicationen
dc.subjectOnline informationen
dc.subjectQuantitative resultsen
dc.subjectQA75 Electronic computers. Computer scienceen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.subjectRA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicineen
dc.subjectZA4050 Electronic information resourcesen
dc.subjectSDG 3 - Good Health and Well-beingen
dc.titleResolving embarrassing medical conditions with online health informationen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Marine Alliance for Science & Technology Scotlanden
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Scottish Oceans Instituteen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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