Archive for January 27th, 2008

Impact of Web Searching and Social Feedback on Consumer Decision Making

January 27, 2008

This article from the Journal of Medical Internet Research is also a commentary on how internet search, which is the first step for most health consumers, aids in decision making. Although the study uses a convenience sample of college students, it has some interesting conclusions:

Searching across quality health information sources on the Web can improve consumers’ accuracy in answering health questions. However, a consumer’s confidence in an answer is not a good indicator of the answer being correct. Consumers who are not confident in their answers after searching are more likely to be influenced to change their views when provided with feedback from other consumers.”

So while it appeared to increase knowledge, it did not guarantee correct answers. I would like to see this repeated in the real world with the chronically ill, for instance. It reinforces the point form yesterdays post – the need for consumers to filter information which they find on the web and know what to ignore.

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