New Zealand consumers’ health information needs : results of an interpretive descriptive study

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Honey, Michelle L.
Roy, Dianne
Bycroft, Janine J.
Boyd, Mary-Anne
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Journal Article
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
consumer health information
focus groups
health literacy
qualitative research
health promotion
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Honey, M. L. L., Roy, D. E., Bycroft, J., and Boyd, M. (2014). New Zealand consumers’ health information needs : results of an interpretive descriptive study. Journal of Primary Health Care, 6(3), pp.203-211.
INTRODUCTION: Health literacy is linked to better health outcomes and underpins effective self-management, yet over one-and-a-half million New Zealanders are known to have poor health literacy skills. An ability to access and understand health information is an important component of health literacy. Little is known, however, about New Zealand consumers’ health information needs. This qualitative study sought to understand the perceptions of consumers related to their needs and use of health information. METHODS: Four focus group interviews provided data for this qualitative descriptive study. Data analysis used a thematic inductive approach. Participants were from the general population, accessed through community-based health organisations. These consumers were predominantly of New Zealand European ethnicity, female, older, and most were actively engaged in managing their health. FINDINGS: Four themes were identified: issues with current information provision; preferences for content; format; and sources of health information. These themes are described in the paper, using illustrative quotes from consumer participants. CONCLUSION: This study indicates that consumers have varied health information needs. Health professionals cannot assume that consumers all have the same health literacy skills. The ideal is to provide personalised, relevant information in a manner the consumer can understand, within the current time constraints in practice. Health professionals can support consumers in their use of different strategies to ensure their health information needs are expressed and met.
Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
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Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand