Race/Ethnicity and Health Information Seeking and Use Outside of the Medical Encounter: Is It Associated with Chronic Conditions?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Ronica ROOKS , University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO
Increasingly, adults in the United States of America (USA) are seeking and using health information (HI) within and outside their medical encounters.  Patients actively involved in their self-care are more likely to manage chronic conditions (CC) effectively.  But, HI use trends are unclear for those with CC, who use more healthcare and are associated with aging.  One study on older, racial/ethnic minority adults found HI seeking could change their eating, exercise, and illness treatments but did not lead to changes in health promotion/prevention or healthcare providers.  The theory of uncertainty management suggests that patients reduce healthcare uncertainty by increasing their understanding of disease etiology or treatment options, improving patient-doctor communication, and enhancing disease self-management knowledge through HI seeking.  My prior research found African Americans and Whites were similar in seeking and using HI when they talked with their doctors, but Latinos were significantly less likely to do so.  However, African Americans and Latinos were significantly more likely than Whites to seek and use HI to change their approach to maintaining their health and better understand how to treat illnesses.  We examine if race/ethnicity is related to HI use outside of medical encounters by CC.  We use data from the 2007 USA Health Tracking Household survey, a nationally-representative survey of civilian, non-institutionalized Americans (n=12,549).  Descriptive analysis showed Whites were more likely to seek HI from the Internet (35.7%), while a higher percentage of African Americans sought HI from books or magazines (33.3%) and friends or relatives (32.3%).  Latinos were more likely to get HI from friends or relatives (24.0%) and books or magazines (23.1%).  Logistic regression models using a knowledge/beliefs scale about care for CC, and alternatively stratifying by any CC or not, will aid our understanding of the self-care practices and needs of racial/ethnic adults with CC as they age.