BACKGROUND: The internet has become an established source of health information for many Egyptian internet users. Understanding users' attitudes toward the benefits and limitations of web-based health information will explain the influence of this information on users' health-related behavior and decisions.
OBJECTIVE: This qualitative study aims to understand the attitude of Egyptian internet users toward internet health information and to explore the impact of obtained health information on users' behavior and on their physician-patient relationship.
METHODS: For this qualitative study, semistructured interviews were conducted with a total of 49 participants (41/49, 84% Egyptian internet users and 8/49, 16% physicians) who participated in focus groups or individual interviews. We used a thematic analysis approach to explain and demonstrate participants' views, thoughts, and experiences in using web-based health information.
RESULTS: The internet has become an important source of health information in comparison with other health information sources and is the central theme that has emerged across the thematic analysis. The attitude toward the use of internet health was classified into three main themes: feeling toward web-based health information (with subthemes: favoring, disliking, neutral, or having ambivalence feelings), motivators to seek internet health information, and behavioral changes using internet health information (subthemes: confidence, satisfaction, and improved knowledge). Themes that emerged from physicians' interviews included the accessibility of the internet health information, good communication, and coordination of care between patients and their physicians, and the active engagement of patients with their management plan.
CONCLUSIONS: The internet has become an essential source of health information for Egyptian adults. Internet health information can improve the patient-physician relationship, especially when users discuss the obtained health information with their physician. Internet health information provided seekers with social support and self-confidence when making health decisions.
Bibliographical note©Mayada Ghweeba, Antje Lindenmeyer, Sobhi Shishi, Amani Waheed, Mostafa Kofi, Shaymaa Amer. Originally published in JMIR Formative Research (https://formative.jmir.org), 18.02.2022.
- Doctor-patient relationship
- Egyptian internet users
- Online health information
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Medicine (miscellaneous)