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Patient choice, Internet based information sources, and perceptions of health care : Evidence from Sweden using survey data from 2010 and 2013

Wahlstedt, Emma and Ekman, Björn LU (2016) In BMC Health Services Research 16(1).
Abstract

Background: Several countries have increased patients' abilities to choose their health care providers, frequently under the assumption that patients are themselves the best agents to make such decisions. In parallel, national and regional health authorities have enhanced access to Internet based information sources (IBIS) to assist patients in making an informed choice. Relatively little, however, is known about the effect that the use of such sources has on key outcomes, including patients' perceptions of care. The aim of this study is to analyze the role of the Internet for patients' confidence in the provider and perceived access to care in the context of choice based reforms in Sweden. Methods: The study uses a regional, population... (More)

Background: Several countries have increased patients' abilities to choose their health care providers, frequently under the assumption that patients are themselves the best agents to make such decisions. In parallel, national and regional health authorities have enhanced access to Internet based information sources (IBIS) to assist patients in making an informed choice. Relatively little, however, is known about the effect that the use of such sources has on key outcomes, including patients' perceptions of care. The aim of this study is to analyze the role of the Internet for patients' confidence in the provider and perceived access to care in the context of choice based reforms in Sweden. Methods: The study uses a regional, population health survey from the southern part of Sweden. Non-parametric chi-square tests are used to assess the nature of Internet users, including their gender, age and socioeconomic status. Logistic regression models are specified to analyze the role of IBIS on patient perceptions of care while controlling for other factors. Results: Actual use of Internet based information sources for health care was relatively low in 2010 and only somewhat higher in 2013. The characteristics of IBIS users varied significantly across different population groups, such that they were younger, more educated, female, and also considered themselves to be in better health compared with those who reported not using this source of health care information. Finally, the average IBIS user was less likely to report having a high level of satisfaction with respect to their primary care use; OR 0.69 [95 % CI: 0.54-0,87] and OR 0.52 [95 % CI: 0,41-0,66], for confidence in provider and perceived access to care, respectively, in 2013. Conclusions: Despite health agencies' attempts to make information on health care providers available on the Internet, this source of health care information is not used to any large extent in the current sample. The fact that some people use this source of information more compared with others suggests the need to consider alternative ways of informing the general public about choice options. The use of Internet based sources may also be linked with the experience of actually using health services, which suggests a need to further analyze this complex consumer behavior process.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Access to care, Health care reform, Internet, Patient choice, Patient satisfaction, Sweden
in
BMC Health Services Research
volume
16
issue
1
publisher
BioMed Central
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84979986212
ISSN
1472-6963
DOI
10.1186/s12913-016-1581-5
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
2888ee55-b32e-41b8-b4e3-bb21d91cb3c8
date added to LUP
2016-08-25 16:46:08
date last changed
2016-09-20 03:04:17
@misc{2888ee55-b32e-41b8-b4e3-bb21d91cb3c8,
  abstract     = {<p>Background: Several countries have increased patients' abilities to choose their health care providers, frequently under the assumption that patients are themselves the best agents to make such decisions. In parallel, national and regional health authorities have enhanced access to Internet based information sources (IBIS) to assist patients in making an informed choice. Relatively little, however, is known about the effect that the use of such sources has on key outcomes, including patients' perceptions of care. The aim of this study is to analyze the role of the Internet for patients' confidence in the provider and perceived access to care in the context of choice based reforms in Sweden. Methods: The study uses a regional, population health survey from the southern part of Sweden. Non-parametric chi-square tests are used to assess the nature of Internet users, including their gender, age and socioeconomic status. Logistic regression models are specified to analyze the role of IBIS on patient perceptions of care while controlling for other factors. Results: Actual use of Internet based information sources for health care was relatively low in 2010 and only somewhat higher in 2013. The characteristics of IBIS users varied significantly across different population groups, such that they were younger, more educated, female, and also considered themselves to be in better health compared with those who reported not using this source of health care information. Finally, the average IBIS user was less likely to report having a high level of satisfaction with respect to their primary care use; OR 0.69 [95 % CI: 0.54-0,87] and OR 0.52 [95 % CI: 0,41-0,66], for confidence in provider and perceived access to care, respectively, in 2013. Conclusions: Despite health agencies' attempts to make information on health care providers available on the Internet, this source of health care information is not used to any large extent in the current sample. The fact that some people use this source of information more compared with others suggests the need to consider alternative ways of informing the general public about choice options. The use of Internet based sources may also be linked with the experience of actually using health services, which suggests a need to further analyze this complex consumer behavior process.</p>},
  author       = {Wahlstedt, Emma and Ekman, Björn},
  issn         = {1472-6963},
  keyword      = {Access to care,Health care reform,Internet,Patient choice,Patient satisfaction,Sweden},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  number       = {1},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xaccdb70)},
  series       = {BMC Health Services Research},
  title        = {Patient choice, Internet based information sources, and perceptions of health care : Evidence from Sweden using survey data from 2010 and 2013},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-016-1581-5},
  volume       = {16},
  year         = {2016},
}