Community health information sources - A survey in three disparate communities

Jared Dart, Cindy Gallois, Peter Mackinlay Yellowlees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the current utilisation, importance, trust and future preference for contemporary sources of health information in three different socioeconomic groups. Design: A pilot study including key informant interviews and direct observation was conducted in a low socioeconomic community. From this work a survey questionnaire was designed and implemented across three different communities. Participants and setting: Semi-structured key informant interviews and focus groups capturing 52 respondents. Paper-based surveys were left in community organisations and local health practices in a low socioeconomic (LSE) community on the out-skirts of Ipswich, Queensland, a mid-high socioeconomic (MSE) community in the western suburbs of Brisbane, and at a local university. Main outcome measures: Rank of current and preferred future sources of health information, importance and trustworthiness of health information sources. Results: Across all three communities the local doctor was the most currently used, important, trusted and preferred future source of health information. The most striking difference between the three communities related to the current use and preferred future use of the internet. The internet was a more currently used source of health information and more important source in the university population than the LSE or MSE populations. It was also a less preferred source of future health information in the LSE population than the MSE or university populations. Importantly, currently used sources of health information did not reflect community members' preferred sources of health information. Conclusions: People in different socioeconomic communities obtain health information from various sources. This may reflect access issues, education and awareness of the internet as a source of health information, less health information seeking as well as a reluctance by the e-health community to address the specific needs of this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-196
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Medicine(all)


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