Internet use by patients in an inflammatory bowel disease specialty clinic

Robert R. Cima, Kari J. Anderson, David W. Larson, Eric J. Dozois, Imran Hassan, William J. Sandborn, Edward V. Loftus, John H. Pemberton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background: Patient education is known to improve satisfaction in and participation with treatment. A careful assessment of internet use by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients to gather information has not been reported. Our aim was to evaluate internet use to gather general health- and disease-specific information in patients presenting to an IBD clinic. Methods: A cross-sectional anonymous survey using a convenience sample of patients (N = 175) at a tertiary-care institution's IBD clinic was performed. Results: In all, 169 surveys (97%) were returned for analysis. The median age was 46 (17-84), 83 men and 81 women (5 missing). In known IBD patients (87%), 85 (50%) had Crohn's disease and 62 (37%) ulcerative colitis; 81 % of patients had home internet access. The most common information sources were: gastroenterologists (59%), internet (54%), and primary-care physicians (54%). Ninety-two patients (54%) used the internet to gather IBD-specific information. Age-specific use (<40, 40-65, >65) was 73%, 48%, 37.5%, respectively. There was a significant positive association between level of education and internet use (P < 0.0001), but not with income. Internet sites most commonly visited were organization- or institution-specific. Factors that most influenced a user's choice of an internet site were noncommercial status (59%) and ease of use (53%). The majority of patients (57%) rated internet information "trustworthy" to "very trustworthy." Conclusions: Over half of patients in an IBD clinic used the internet to gather IBD-specific information. Use was inversely associated with age and positively correlated with education level. There was no income association. These findings suggest web-based IBD information may become increasingly important in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1270
Number of pages5
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Crohn's disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Internet
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Worldwide web

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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