Klinar, Ivana and Balažin, Ana and Baršić, Bruno and Tiljak, Hrvoje (2011) Identification of general characteristics, motivation, and satisfaction of internet-based medical consultation service users in Croatia. Croatian Medical Journal, 52 (4). pp. 557-565. ISSN 0353-9504
AIM: To identify users' reasons to look for physician consultation on the internet instead of visiting a physician and to explore their general characteristics, motivation, and satisfaction with internet medical consultation service 'Your Questions.' ----- METHODS: Users of a free internet medical consultation service 'Your Questions' (www.plivazdravlje.hr) were invited to participate in a web-based survey designed to explore their general characteristics (age, sex, etc), reasons for using the service, the nature of their health problem or question, and their satisfaction with the service. Respondents were divided into two groups: users who consulted an internet physician only (Group I) and users who used internet consulting before or after visiting a physician (Group II). ----- RESULTS: The response rate was 38% (1036/2747), with 79% female respondents. A fifth of the respondents (21%) consulted an internet physician only (Group I). Multivariate analysis revealed that the respondents in Group I were younger (median 24 vs 28 years in Group II), more interested into questions about pregnancy (odds ratio [OR], 1.984; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.203-3.272), more often embarrassed to talk to a physician in person (OR, 1.828; 95% CI, 1.119-2.989), and more motivated to protect their privacy (OR, 1.727; 95% CI, 1.252-2.380). They also had greater satisfaction with the service (77% vs 60%, P<0.001). ----- CONCLUSION: The factors associated with the use of internet-based medical consultation services were younger age, need for privacy protection, avoidance of embarrassment at the physician's office, and having a question related to pregnancy. This reveals the internet medical consultation service as a useful health promotion supplement that is particularly applicable for the population of young adults.
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