How do Consumers Search for and Appraise Information on Medicines on the Internet? A Qualitative Study Using Focus Groups

Journal Medical Internet Research
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal Of Medical Internet Research, 2003, 5 (4), pp. 1 - 15
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Background Many consumers use the Internet to find information about their medicines. It is widely acknowledged that health information on the Internet is of variable quality and therefore the search and appraisal skills of consumers are important for selecting and assessing this information. The way consumers choose and evaluate information on medicines on the Internet is important because it has been shown that written information on medicines can influence consumer attitudes to and use of medicines. Objective To explore consumer experiences in searching for and appraising Internet-based information on medicines. Methods Six focus groups (N = 46 participants) were conducted in metropolitan Sydney, Australia from March to May 2003 with consumers who had used the Internet for information on medicines. Verbatim transcripts of the group discussions were analyzed using a grounded theory approach.
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