Original ArticleWhy Patients Go Online: Multiple Sclerosis, the Internet, and Physician-Patient CommunicationHay, M Cameron PhD*†; Strathmann, Cynthia PhD‡; Lieber, Eli PhD§; Wick, Kimberly MA¶; Giesser, Barbara MD∥Author Information From the *Department of Anthropology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; †Center for Culture and Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA; ‡Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; §Fieldwork and Qualitative Data Research Laboratory, Center for Culture and Health, University of California, Los Angeles, California; ¶Boston College, Boston, MA; and ∥Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, California. Supported in part by a Pilot Research Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 0137921. Reprints: M. Cameron Hay, PhD, Department of Anthropology, 164 Upham Hall, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The Neurologist: November 2008 - Volume 14 - Issue 6 - p 374-381 doi: 10.1097/NRL.0b013e31817709bb Buy Metrics Abstract Background: The online information seeking of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, their reasons for doing so, and its importance for physician-patient communication have not been described. Methods: Patients (n = 61) presenting for the first time at an MS clinic from December 2003 to July 2005 were interviewed pre- and postappointment and administered standard measures of pain and health quality of life. Consultations were audio recorded. Quantitative data were analyzed in light of qualitative data. Results: Eighty-two percent of patients reported gathering medical information online before their first appointment; 36% discussed this information with their physician. Qualitative reasons for Internet information seeking and for not communicating it show some signs of wariness of health care potentially leading to nonadherence. Conclusions: Most MS patients are informed by online information, but are unlikely to discuss that research with physicians for reasons that may have implications for patient adherence. © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.