The Centre Partners with McGill Research Team on Online Consumer Health Information Use Study


The Centre is proud to be associated with a McGill University multidisciplinary research team, led by Dr. Pierre Pluye, a researcher and professor in Family Medicine. The team has been awarded a CIHR grant to produce a knowledge synthesis about how patients currently find and use online health information and about the health outcomes that have been documented. The findings will be used to design an innovative Patient Information Aid. The Centre, an institutional Knowledge-User partner, brings our expertise in literacy and health literacy to this project.

Toward a Patient Information Aid in Primary Health Care: What are the Outcomes Associated with the Use of Online Consumer Health Information? A Participatory Systematic Mixed Studies Review

The ultimate goal of this project is to facilitate patients’ use of online consumer health information in community-based primary health care, promoting better patient health outcomes. The project will review the literature as a basis to design an innovative Patient Information Aid. While aids exist for specific decisions around health issues, there is currently no comprehensive aid to help patients find and use relevant understandable general information. Patients routinely seek health information on the Internet. The use of this information may improve patients’ self-care, and engagement in their health, care, and treatment. However, little is known about the outcomes of using online consumer health information in primary health care.

The specific objectives of the project are to list types of patient information use and types of patient health outcomes, and to identify conditions associated with specific outcomes. A participatory review of the literature will be conducted in four stages by a multidisciplinary team of researchers, and Knowledge User partners who are representatives of patients and information providers. The four stages of the review are: (1) identification of potentially relevant references; (2) selection of relevant full-text documents; (3) quality appraisal of included research studies; and (4) synthesis of study results. Eligible documents will include original qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies on the use of online consumer health information in primary health care. The study will combine a qualitative and quantitative synthesis.

This review will be the first to synthesize knowledge on this topic. Findings will used to design a Patient Information Aid to be implemented by our partners and other knowledge users to help patients find and use information, and collect their feedback to improve information products.

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