Finding health information on the Internet

Dr Sophie Hill

La Trobe University, VIC

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Incubator | 2012 | Investigator Led Research |


The Internet is playing an increasing role in the provision of health information for Australians. The rapid growth of consumer-driven and interactive applications (known as Web 2.0 and including social media, blogs, etc) provide novel ways of seeking health information. While the quality of health information available on the Internet is variable, research shows the use of the Internet can enable more active health consumers.

Overseas research shows that people with MS are high Internet users, with some studies suggesting people with MS use the Internet more than others in the general population. It is not known, however, how these findings translate to Australia.

In this study, Dr Sophie Hill, will lead an inter-disciplinary team of researchers to investigate how Australians with MS use the Internet to find information about treatments and therapies for MS. In particular, they aim to understand the different ways in which people with MS use the Internet, the types of information they seek, the outcomes of their information-seeking and their perceptions about the Internet’s trustworthiness.

By surveying people who participate in the Australian Multiple Sclerosis Longitudinal Survey, the team aim to provide the largest snapshot to date of health-information seeking on the Internet by people with MS. It will also be one of the first studies worldwide to look in detail at the role of Web 2.0 in this context.

The results of this study can be used by organisations that provide information for people with MS to better meet the needs of people with MS.


Colombo, C., Mosconi, P., Confalonieri, P., Baroni, I., Traversa, S., Hill, S.J.,Synnot, A.J., Oprandi, N., & Filippini, G. (2014). Web Search Behavior and Information Needs of People With Multiple Sclerosis: Focus Group Study and Analysis of Online Postings. Interactive Journal of Medical Research. 3(3)12.

Updated: 30 June 2013

Updated: 03 January, 2012


Grant Awarded

  •  Incubator Grant

Total Funding

  • $22,393


  • 1 year over 2012

Read More

Newsletter subscription

  • Enter your details

Finding health information on the Internet