Online Health Information Seeking and the Deaf: An Examination of How the Deaf Utilize the Internet for Healthcare Purposes



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Our modern world and digital technology are evolving at an unimaginable pace, which has greatly impacted healthcare. However, some populations such as the Deaf may not fully incorporate this evolution due to differences in culture, health disparities, varying communication methods, and uncertainty management choices. Therefore, the overall objective of this research is to assess the potential impact of the digital technology on Deaf healthcare access and their resulting health. The objectives of the study are: (a) to assess the utilization patterns of online health information seeking by the Deaf; and (b) to examine the relationship between healthcare satisfaction and online health information seeking. To examine the objectives I propose a single research question: What is the relationship among patient satisfaction, language concordance, and online health information seeking by the Deaf? The study proposes to administer initial pretest via an in-person, cross-sectional survey to help inform the participants of the purpose of the focus group and to gather some background information and their feelings towards certain topics. It also proposes conducting an in-person focus group with pretest participants and an in-person interview with a key informant of the Deaf community to better understand the pretest answers. In the results I discovered the participants usually seek to reduce or manage uncertainty through family, friends, doctors, or printed materials instead of the internet.



Online health information seeking, Deaf, Health communication, Healthcare satisfaction