The Internet is an evolving resource for health-care information. However little information exists on providers' and other web patrons' usage of the 'medical' Internet. This study aims to characterize the users of a large paediatric link collection, describe their objectives and track their use of the information provided by the site. We utilized a paediatric link collection called the Pediatric Points of Interest (POI) and a combination of a questionnaire, unique user identifier and link-tracking system to collect data about POI patrons' demographics and Internet resource utilization. During a five week period, 5216 individuals visited the POI and requested 36,187 links. The majority of users had less than one year of Internet experience and were first-time visitors to the POI. More than 83% of users were from North America. Medical professionals were more likely to return to the POI during the study period and reported visiting the POI mainly for 'medical education', 'research', 'resource identification', and 'disease specific information'; they proceeded primarily to the resource categories 'Medical Institutions and Agencies' (32%) and 'Professional Education and Resources' (28%). Laypersons expressed the greatest interest in 'disease specific information' and 'patient education' and most frequently visited the category. 'Patient Education' (42%). On average, users were able to identify resources related to their stated goals within one level of searching. Health care providers and other web patrons are actively utilizing Internet sites to seek medical information and are able to identify resources with a minimum of searching.
- Computer communication networks
- Link collection
- Medical informatics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics