Does the use of information found on the internet affect health? Internet has become a popular source of health information for clinicians and patients. However, there are no research studies that have systematically examined the use of health information found on the internet and its effects on health. My goal is to study these effects in primary health care through my research program which is based on integrating information studies and health sciences.
My program consists of four projects: two for clinicians and two for patients. They will use the Information Assessment Method that I have developed and validated. Project 1 combines a longitudinal study with a multi- case study. I will assess the health effects associated with information searches conducted by 50 family physicians via a "continuing education" module that will be integrated into an electronic medical record.
Project 2 combines an experimental study with a qualitative one. The former will measure the health effects associated with a new system of 'personalized reminder' that we will create and implement in an electronic medical record to help 330 family physicians use treatment recommendations receive via email. The latter study will evaluate the usability of these reminders.
Project 3 is a systematic review of the literature funded by CIHR (start date: October 2013). I will synthesize the available knowledge on health benefits associated to the information found by primary care patients, and produce a "Patient Information Aid".
Project 4 will be based on the results of the third project, and will be developed with our institutional partners, including patient organizations.