A wired waiting room: Interventions to enhance access to online health information

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The complexities of introducing Internet access to support health information seeking in a medical clinic waiting room have not been well documented in the literature. This is problematic because Canadian policy emphasizes the need to leverage technology (e.g., government-produced health information Web sites) to increase the health care system’s effectiveness and efficiency. In my research regarding the introduction of an Internet terminal to the waiting room of a Vancouver medical clinic, I explored policy discourse and conducted fieldwork, including interviews and participant observation before and during the terminal’s introduction. I argue interventions are required at government, community, and individual levels to enhance Internet access to health information. Necessary changes range from small modifications of interfaces to substantial support for end users in community locations. Coordinated efforts by multiple stakeholders are required to address the social and technical challenges of access.

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Copyright remains with the author
School of Communication - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)