Effect of Internet on Chinese Patients Undergoing Elective Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

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Abstract

Background

It is a growing trend that patients seek health information on the internet to self-educate and self-diagnose, which impacts their health decisions.

Objective

The aim of the study was to investigate how Chinese patients undergoing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) sought information about their disease and treatment, how they preferred the information to be presented, and how it influenced them.

Methods

A descriptive, cross-sectional-designed questionnaire was employed to obtain information from 248 Chinese patients undergoing elective LC in Peking Union Medical College Hospital.

Results

A total of 223 patients (89.9 %) sought health information from the internet. Patients searching the internet for information about LC were younger than those who did not. It varied with employment status, educational level, and household average income. Among patients searching the internet for LC information, 35.4 % felt more worried and 37.2 % felt more assured; 15.2 % went to visit other doctors and 8.5 % considered changing their treatment because of internet use.

Conclusions

A significant proportion of patients used the internet to obtain information about their disease. Age, employment status, educational level, and household average monthly income had an effect on internet usage for LC information. The use of the internet could cause mixed emotional outcomes among patients. Physicians should guide Chinese patients to professional websites of high quality and take time to discuss the information with patients during their visits and consultations.

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