Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 

Date of this Version

2021

Abstract

Introduction: With the advent of the Internet, retrieval and searching of information resources have changed compared to the past. These changes have made the Internet network easy enough for users to access specialized and non-specialized knowledge, and consequently, expose users to many challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, this study investigates and categorize these challenges and opportunities.

Methods: To conduct this narrative review, at the first step, the articles addressed health-related information available on the Internet from reputable journals and databases were selected. Then, the selected articles were examined to answer the research questions, and the information obtained was categorized. Finally, the challenges and opportunities arising from this information were identified.

Results: Health-related information on the Internet can help empower individuals to make medical decisions, as well as control and manage their disease. Alternatively, using the Internet to obtain health-related information can cause harm, such as health anxiety and cyberchondria.

Conclusion: Despite the many challenges, online health information plays a vital role in people's self-care. Public health-related organizations should provide the essential platforms for better use of online health information and thus better self-care of people in the community by recognizing the opportunities and challenges of this type of information.

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