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Lost, found, and feeling better: Exploring proxy health information behavior

Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
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file://F:\UllasKumarG\working\000\258\258_poster.html Lost, Found, and Feeling Better: Exploring Proxy Health Information Behavior Karen E. Fisher, Corresponding Author The Information School, University of Washington, Box 352840, Seattle, WA 98195-2840, Voice: (206) 543-6238 Fax: (206) 616-3152 [email protected] Jennie A. Abrahamson Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University [email protected] Anne G. Turner Student, The Information School, University of Washington Box 352840, Seattle, WA 98195-2840 [email protected] Phil M. Edwards The Information School, University of Washington Box 352840, Seattle, WA 98195-2840 [email protected] Joan C. Durrance School of Information, University of Michigan 550 E University-3084 West Hall Connector Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1092 Voice: (734) 763-1569 Fax: (734) 764-2475 [email protected] In studying how people use the Internet for situations involving consumer health information (CHI), we also examined the phenomenon of proxy searching, i.e., when people seek information on behalf of others without necessarily being asked to do so or engaging in follow-up. Proxy searching has also been referred to as the imposed query, or a query which is precipitated by questions generated by others, such as teachers, employers, friends, or family members (Gross & Saxton, 2001). The prevalence of proxy health information seeking has been observed to be as high as 54% of all health information seekers on the Internet (Fox & Rainie, 2000). Many health care researchers refer to these information seekers as “hidden patients” and have noted the importance of addressing their information needs, particularly because these needs can become lost among those of the patients they are related to (Meissner, et al., 1990; Ell, 1996; Kristjanson & Aoun, 2005). The needs of these hidden patients are often negotiated by others who are largely not information professional

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