Indexed on: 05 Oct '11Published on: 05 Oct '11Published in: European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Nowadays, internet and e-mail are important modes of communication and information. This paper seeks to determine internet usage as a source of health information amongst ENT patients and to investigate whether patients prefer to communicate primarily with the hospital via e-mail. The method used is a questionnaire study and 201 patients attending an ENT clinic completed questionnaires over 2 weeks in December 2010. Of those with internet access (85%), 37% had used it for health information prior to their appointment; 90% rated the information between average and excellent; over half stated they would like doctor-recommended websites. Overall, 8% had previously used e-mail to communicate with healthcare professionals, but 50% stated that they wished to use e-mail in the future. ENT patients are becoming increasingly computer-literate. As healthcare professionals, we must do more to incorporate the internet as a source of reliable healthcare information. Properly implemented, e-mail can become an invaluable method of communication with patients.