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Authors: Wangler, Julian
Jansky, Michael
Title: Online enquiries and health concerns : a survey of German general practitioners regarding experiences and strategies in patient care
Online publication date: 28-Aug-2023
Year of first publication: 2023
Language: english
Abstract: Aim Increasingly at GP practices, patients appear who are extremely worried as a result of health information researched online and consequently affected by doubts and concerns. The study highlights GP attitudes and experiences with regard to this patient group. Moreover, it identifies strategies adopted by GPs to respond appropriately to worried or scared patients. Subject and methods In the German federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, 2532 GPs were surveyed between June and August 2022. Owing to the explorative nature of the study, a descriptive analysis was conducted. Results Of the total respondents, 77% deemed the current problem of internet-related health concerns to be a major challenge in everyday practice. The implications affect patients’ mental stability and expectations towards the doctor (esp. demand for further instrumental diagnosis, 83%). One doctor in five (20%) has experienced the termination of patient contact because the relationship with the patient was no longer possible due to the patient’s uncontrolled online information behaviour. To respond to worried or scared patients, the respondents generally ask certain patient groups about online research (39%) and take this into account in the doctor–patient discussion (23%). Furthermore, the respondents use a detailed explanation of the diagnosis and/or treatment (65%) and recommend websites that they consider reputable (66%). Some of the doctors prefer a joint examination of the information researched by the patient (55%) as well as to explain the benefits and risks of online research (43%). Conclusion Many GPs demonstrate a high level of awareness and sensitivity with regard to extensive online research and potentially worried patients. It seems advisable to actively address the online search for information in the patient consultation to prevent possible negative effects on the doctor–patient relationship and to actively involve the patient. In this respect, it would also be worth considering expanding the medical history to include the dimension of online searching.
DDC: 610 Medizin
610 Medical sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 04 Medizin
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Journal of public health
Version of Record (VoR)
Publisher: Springer
Publisher place: Berlin u.a.
Issue date: 2023
ISSN: 1613-2238
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s10389-023-01909-1
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-H

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