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Young Tech-Savvy Users’ Perceptions of Consumer Health Portals
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Young Tech-Savvy Users’ Perceptions of Consumer Health Portals



Jim Warren

Jim Warren
National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI)
The University of Auckland
(P27, 17/10/08, Consumers and the Internet stream, 10.50am)



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Young Tech-Savvy Users’ Perceptions of Consumer Health Portals Young Tech-Savvy Users’ Perceptions of Consumer Health Portals Presentation Transcript

  • Young Tech-Savvy Users’ Perceptions of Consumer Health Portals Jim Warren Chief Scientist, National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) The University of Auckland HINZ Conference & Exhibition Rotorua, October 2008
  • Consumers and the Internet
    • Why study this?
      • Cornerstone of consumer empowerment
      • Quality issue
        • Do consumers find what they’re looking for?
        • Is what they find correct?
        • Do they understand it enough to take the right action?
    • Investments are prolific
      • Governments building big general sites
        • Medlineplus.gov, Healthinsite.gov.au
      • Purpose-specific sites
        • www.thelowdown.co.nz
  • As illustrated by thelowdown – the bar is moving up (and so will the cost); e.g., locally-relevant multimedia content
  • Context/Motivation
    • Continuing Australian Research Council (ARC) funding – Smart Internet Portals
      • Investigating the role and management of metadata for consumer Internet health resources
    • How do we describe these resources so people get matched up with
      • What they want
      • What they need
      • Accurate stuff
    • … so they end up healthy and empowered
  • We wish to see into the future of consumer health on the Internet So let’s ask the young tech-savvy folks what works for them
  • Methodology
    • Offered a tutorial (with opt out) to COMPSCI 345 Human-Computer Interaction students in August 2007
    • Each tried one of two Australasian and one of three ‘international’ web sites
    • Spent 10 minutes with each to answer a health question of interest to them
      • on behalf of themselves or someone they cared about
    • Completed anonymous questionnaires
    • Discussed experience in class
  • What were respondents like?
    • 44 of 143 students (31%) submitted questionnaires
    • Of those…
      • 80% male
      • 66% aged 22 years or under (and only two over age 30)
      • 75% indicated English as their primary language (Asian languages constituting all but two of the remainder)
      • 91% had searched for health information on the Internet previously
      • 34% had previously searched for health information for a family member
  • Results – what did they like? Health On Net (HON) and US Medlineplus a bit ahead
  • Results – what worked?
    • Medlinesplus or HON significantly more likely to provide what they were looking for
      • Odds ratio [OR] 5.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21-25.16
  • Results – enough info?
    • Significantly more likely to find enough info with HON or Medlineplus
      • OR 6.26, 95% CI 2.10-18.70
  • Results – what did they want
    • Asked about importance of particular types of features
      • Newsletters / stuff the sends info to them
      • Personalisation
      • Choosing type of information
      • Options if they mis-spell search term
      • Terms to refine search
      • Site search engine
    • Search feature overwhelmingly important
      • 82% ‘very important’, 14% ‘important’ and the remainder ‘moderately important’
      • Majority of free-text comments were about issues with search features of sites
      • Getting info at other times was least important
  • Search further
    • In discussion the students really emphasized Search and Google
      • Would you use a health portal?
        • No, I’d use Google
      • Aren’t you worried about quality
        • Nah, I can tell
      • Really; would you recommend a portal to anyone?
        • Maybe to my grandma
  • Discussion / Implications
    • Search is king
      • The youngsters don’t want to navigate when Google can take them straight there
      • Implication – need good metadata and inherent provenance on each page of a website
    • It’s hard to be good
      • The really big websites significantly outperformed smaller cousins in providing answers (at all, and in desired depth)
      • Implication – do you really have the budget to make a useful addition?
  • Limitations
    • They weren’t really sick
      • People with serious and chronic illness will have different preferences
        • So, e.g., cancer, mental health are probably quite beside the point to this finding
        • ‘ Immediate’ users (e.g., HealthPoint) quite different, too
      • Then again, less tech-comfortable, esp. older, people will probably use their younger relatives for search
      • And many, more casual, health inquiries will probably follow the patterns of these students
    • We didn’t ask about all kinds of features
      • Aussies say they want Web 2.0 features, too
        • E.g., post a comment
  • Conclusions
    • Metadata
      • Every page must be self-documenting; indexed; referenced; linked (and current)
    • Coverage
      • Can you really answer the questions?
    • Possibly, Web 2.0
      • e.g., allow feedback
  • Questions?
    • Contact Jim Warren (jim@cs.auckland.ac.nz)