Internet access has increased for all minority groups, narrowing the digital divide, but not entirely diminishing it. Seeking online health information does not significantly vary by ethnicity.
But among all Internet users, Whites had higher levels of discussing Internet health information with a health care provider about Internet health information than Blacks and Asians, moreover this is the same for the Internet users who are immigrants.
While the digital divide is narrowing in terms of Internet access, racial differences in patient–provider communication about Internet health information may undermine the potential benefits of the information age.
We discussed the digital divide already in a prior post: Did Barack Obama Use The Computer for Videogames?
Overall, our findings suggest a new digital divide based on the interaction of race and gender. African American females have embraced IT, often surpassing in use the presumed technophile, the Caucasian American male, especially in use of the Internet. However, African American males lag behind other groups in their IT use, with one notable exception: videogame playing.
A recent study aims to assess ethnic differences in (discussing Internet health information with a health care provider) patient–provider communication about Internet health information among two samples: (1) among all Internet users and (2) among Internet users who are first-generation immigrants. Immigrants are a growing segment constituting 11.7% of the U.S. population.
How was this research done?
Analyses were conducted on 2005 data from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 2005). HINTS 2005 is a nationally representative telephone survey of a sample
of (n = 5,586) United States adults (18 or more years old). The survey was a list-assisted random digit dialing (RDD) sample of telephone exchanges in the United States. The response rate for the extended interviews was 61.25%
What do you think, is it just a matter of time, or is it something to do with ethnic differences?
Future studies should explore the factors underlying these ethnic differences, which may include patient beliefs, norms, and role expectations in the patient–provider relationship.
Let me know in the comments.
Hong, Traci (2008). Internet Health Information in the Patient–Provider Dialogue CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11 (5) DOI: 18771392