eHealth as a challenge to `expert' power: a focus group study of internet use for health information and management


Objective To investigate current use of the internet and eHealth amongst adults. Design Focus groups were conducted to explore participants' attitudes to and reasons for health internet use. Main outcome measures The focus group data were analysed and interpreted using thematic analysis. Results Three superordinate themes exploring eHealth behaviours were identified: decline in expert authority, pervasiveness of health information on the internet and empowerment. Results showed participants enjoyed the immediate benefits of eHealth information and felt empowered by increased knowledge, but they would be reluctant to lose face-to-face consultations with their GP. Conclusions Our findings illustrate changes in patient identity and a decline in expert authority with ramifications for the practitioner–patient relationship and subsequent implications for health management more generally.

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Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Chronic and Communicable Conditions
Additional Information: Donnelly, Louise S.; Shaw, Rachel L. and van den Akker, Olga (2008). eHealth as a challenge to `expert' power: a focus group study of internet use for health information and management. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 101 (10), pp. 501-506. DOI 10.1258/jrsm.2008.080156 This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The definitive version, detailed above, is available online at
Uncontrolled Keywords: internet,eHealth,adults,health internet use,expert authority,pervasiveness,empowerment,patient identity,practitioner–patient relationship,health management,Medicine(all)
Publication ISSN: 1758-1095
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 07:08
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2011 12:45
Full Text Link: http://jrsm.rsm ... ract/101/10/501
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2008-10-01
Authors: Donnelly, Louise S.
Shaw, Rachel L. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0438-7666)
van den Akker, Olga


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