Patient information needs: Before and after doctor consultations

Attfield, Simon and Adams, Anne (2005). Patient information needs: Before and after doctor consultations. In: HDL 2005: Healthcare Digital Libraries Workshop held in conjunction with ECDL 2005, 22 Sep 2005, Vienna, Austria.



This paper details findings from a study of information seeking by National Health Service patients which explored motivational triggers for information needs. Previous research has highlighted the importance of contextual elements in users changing information needs. This paper highlights how those needs may center on specific real world events and in particular a patient’s consultation with their doctor. Patients initiate information seeking to identify a need a clinical intervention, in preparation for the patient / doctor consultation and to verify the diagnosis or treatment stemming from that consultation. The findings reveal confidence in health practitioners as one key motivation for information seeking. A discussion is presented around fears about patients’ use of information.

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