Factors associated with intended use of a Web site among family practice patients

Peggy A. Smith-Barbaro, John C. Licciardone, Howard F. Clarke, Samuel T. Coleridge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: The World Wide Web has become a widely utilized source of health information. Although the frequency of health related queries is impressive, the demographics associated with patients making queries has not been clearly delineated. Objective: This study's objective was to determine health related Internet usage patterns of family medicine patients. Methods: Internet use among 824 eligible patients 18 years or older attending seven university based family practice clinics during a two week period in November of 1999 was studied. The survey instrument included 10 items and was designed to collect data in less than five minutes using a paper and pencil format. Statistical significance associated with intended Web site use was computed using a multiple logistic regression model. Results: A response rate of 72.2% was observed with 63.1% being females and 36.9% being males. The mean and median age were 44.0 and 45.7 years, respectively. A steady decline in intended Web site use was observed with advancing age with significant differences observed above 65 years (OR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.14-0.64; p<.002). Other significant findings associated with intended use of a Web site by clinic based patients included having a home computer (OR = 1.99; 95%, CI = 1.05-3.76; p<0.03) and having Internet access at home (OR=5.6, 95%, CI = 2.83-11.18; p<.001). A lack of association between intended Web site use and health insurance status was observed. Conclusions: Results from this study suggest that Web sites are not likely to be alternative sources of health information for the uninsured or elderly in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Computers
  • Digital Divide
  • Family Practice
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education/methods
  • Internet/utilization
  • Logistic Models
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patients/statistics & numerical data
  • Questionnaires
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys


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