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How much interest is the internet to patients?

Abstract

Objectives: To assess the accessibility of the internet, the level of interest from patients attending genitourinary (GU) medicine clinics, and explore potential concerns about confidentiality.

Methods: Questionnaire based survey of patients attending five GU medicine clinics in England.

Results: 41% of GU medicine clinic patients in 1999 had access to the internet (range 31%–52%) with access more common in younger age groups, and less common in women and black Caribbean patients. One in 10 patients (with internet access) had used the internet to find out more about the problem with which they had come to the clinic. 60% of patients replied that information on sexual health on the internet was of interest to them and a high proportion of patients said they would use the internet to access information about GU clinics (64%), book an appointment (64%) or get test results (63%). Almost a quarter of patients who made additional suggestions wanted an interactive website.

Conclusions: A high proportion of patients attending GU clinics have access to the internet with potential uses for health education and service delivery.

  • internet
  • sexual health
  • genitourinary medicine

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