How Do Qataris Source Health Information?

Sopna M Choudhury, Teresa Arora, Seham Alebbi, Lina Ahmed, Abdi Aden, Omar Omar, Shahrad Taheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Qatar is experiencing rapid population expansion with increasing demands on healthcare services for both acute and chronic conditions. Sourcing accurate information about health conditions is crucial, yet the methods used for sourcing health information in Qatar are currently unknown. Gaining a better understanding of the sources the Qatari population use to recognize and manage health and/or disease will help to develop strategies to educate individuals about existing and emerging health problems.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the methods used by the Qatari population to source health information. We hypothesized that the Internet would be a key service used to access health information by the Qatari population.

METHODS: A researcher-led questionnaire was used to collect information from Qatari adults, aged 18-85 years. Participants were approached in shopping centers and public places in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. The questionnaire was used to ascertain information concerning demographics, health status, and utilization of health care services during the past year as well as sources of health information used.

RESULTS: Data from a total of 394 eligible participants were included. The Internet was widely used for seeking health information among the Qatari population (71.1%). A greater proportion of Qatari females (78.7%) reported searching for health-related information using the Internet compared to Qatari males (60.8%). Other commonly used sources were family and friends (37.8%) and Primary Health Care Centers (31.2%). Google was the most commonly used search engine (94.8%). Gender, age and education levels were all significant predictors of Internet use for heath information (P<0.001 for all predictors). Females were 2.9 times more likely than males (P<0.001) and people educated to university or college level were 3.03 times more likely (P<0.001) to use the Internet for heath information.

CONCLUSIONS: The Internet is a widely used source to obtain health-related information by the Qatari population. Internet search engines can be utilized to guide users to websites, developed and monitored by healthcare providers, to help convey reliable and accurate health information to Qatar's growing population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0166250
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Consumer Health Information
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qatar/epidemiology
  • Search Engine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


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