The surgical experience: A pilot study of patients’ information needs and their internet use

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University of New Brunswick


Background. While many Canadians search online for information, it is unclear to what extent those having surgery access the internet to meet their information needs. Purpose. A pilot study was conducted to examine adult surgical patients’ information needs and internet use. Methods. Participant recruitment occurred on four surgical units. Sixty patients completed an online survey following discharge. Findings. Considerable variability was observed in participants’ perceptions of the extent their information needs were met. Participants whose information needs were met to a greater extent tended to be more satisfied with their surgical experience. Participants who searched the internet tended to agree their information needs were met to a greater extent than those who did not. Conclusion. Findings provide preliminary evidence of the reliability and validity of the survey and suggest it may yield useful information to advance our understanding of how the internet might be used to address patients’ information needs.