A cornerstone of ‘meaningful use’ of health information is engaging consumers and their families. Yet for consumers to be engaged requires an informed population and therefore focus on consumer's health information needs. Reports indicated consumers want health information, yet little was known about their internet use or perception of electronic health information. This New Zealand study surveyed consumers to gain an understanding of their health information requirements. Some 1783 questionnaires were available for descriptive statistical analyses. The internet was the third most preferred source of health information. Two thirds of participants had used the internet to access health information, because of the speed of access and to find information before going to the doctor. There was little awareness or use of existing New Zealand-based online health resources. Study implications include promoting existing resources and increasing the use of electronic communication between consumers and healthcare providers as these are currently underutilized.
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