Health-Related Everyday Functioning in the Internet Age: HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders Disrupt Online Pharmacy and Health Chart Navigation Skills

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Abstract

This study evaluated the effects of HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) on 2 Internet-based tests of healthcare management. Study participants included 46 individuals with HIV infection, 19 of whom were diagnosed with HAND, and 21 seronegatives. Participants were administered Internet-based tests of online pharmacy and health records navigation skills in which they used mock credentials to log in to an experimenter-controlled website and independently perform a series of typical online health-related behaviors (e.g., refill a prescription, read and interpret an electronic chart note). HAND was associated with significantly lower accuracy on both the online pharmacy and health records navigation tasks. Among the HIV+ participants, poorer performance on the online healthcare navigation tasks was associated with fewer years of education, higher plasma viral load, less frequent Internet use, and lower health literacy. Findings indicate that individuals with HAND may have marked difficulties navigating the Internet to complete important health-related behaviors.

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