Although studies suggest that most patients use healthcare professionals as the main source of health information, the ease of Internet access has resulted in a growing number of people who seek health information from other sources. Health information–seeking skills and patterns may influence follow-through with treatment recommendations.
The purpose of this study was to explore the health information–seeking behaviors (HISBs) of urgent care (UC) patients and the association to adherence to discharge instructions.
A HISB questionnaire was administered to adults presenting for care at a UC clinic. A repeated measure of HISB and the Medical Outcomes Study General Adherence Scale were administered 10–14 days after UC visit. Descriptive and bivariate analyses determined HISB and their association with discharge instruction adherence.
Two hundred ten patients completed all surveys. Family and friends were the most common health information source used both before and after an UC visit. Seeking health information through family/friends after the visit was negatively associated with adherence (covariate adjusted p value, .0003).
Implications for practice:
At times of episodic illness, patients tend to seek health information from family and friends with greater frequency than traditional medical, online, or paper sources. Nurse practitioners working in UC or emergent care settings should include family and friends at the time of discharge teaching because patients may use these sources for additional health information, which may affect instruction adherence.