P553. A single-centre pilot study examining internet use for health related information among patients with inflammatory bowel disease
K. Greveson1, T. Shepherd2, M. Hamilton1, C. Murray1, 1Royal Free Hospital, Gastroenterology, London, United Kingdom, 2Royal Free Hospital, Gastroenterology, London, United Kingdom
The internet offers a wealth of information for patients with chronic disease, facilitating education and shared decision making; however, this information can often be unregulated and potentially inaccurate . Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients' use of the internet has previously been investigated  but no studies have looked at whether internet use alters with disease activity or the influence of this information on patients' decisions regarding health. Our aim was to evaluate patients' use of the internet for health-related information (HRI), including factors influencing choice of website and whether this information influences decisions regarding healthcare or changes with disease severity.
A prospective, pilot survey of 100 consecutive patients attending the IBD clinic over a one month period in November 2013. The anonymous questionnaire included demographic information on age, gender, education level, diagnosis and disease activity. There were also questions regarding use of the internet for HRI, determinants of website quality and influences of information found on the internet on decisions affecting their health.
A total of 75 IBD patients completed the questionnaire (75% response rate), 34 (45%) male; median age 40 yrs (18–82). 38 (51%) had CD; 30 (40%) reported a flare of symptoms in the preceding 6 months. 68 (91%) use the internet and 61 (81%) of which access HRI information via the internet. 92% of patients were educated to completion of high school or above and level of education did not affect internet use. Using NHS direct (45%), Crohn's & colitis UK (40%) and IBD forums (39%), patients searched for general health (41; 55%); IBD specific (40; 53%) and medication (24; 32%) information. 22 (29%) stated that information found on the internet would influence their choice of medication, irrespective of a flare within the last 6 months. 73% (55) felt confident that they could obtain factual information on the internet, although when determining website quality, overall appearance and position in search engines was ranked least important and IBD-specific sites most important.
In our pilot study, internet use is shown to be a major source of disease-specific information and can affect patients' decision making. Internet usage and type of information sought do not alter with disease activity, suggesting that information is equally useful to all patients with IBD.
1. Bernard et al, (2007), A systematic review of patient inflammatory bowel disease information resources on the world wide web, Am Jour Gastro, 2070–2077.
2. Fortinsky, (2012), internet and electronic resources for inflammatory bowel disease: A primer for providers and patients. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, 1156–1163.