Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

David Cotter




internet, health information, decision-making, reliability


Over the past few decades, the Internet has become a popular channel through which patients can seek health information. Even a decade ago, 73 million American adults admitted to being “health information seekers.” It is well known that effective communication and a strong relationship between patients and providers result in higher patient satisfaction and better outcomes; but patients are often dissatisfied. The increasing public availability of health information online is adding yet another dimension to the patient-provider relationship that neither party is fully equipped to handle. Using nationally representative HINTS data from 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2011, this study evaluates Internet health information seeking behavior (IHISB) as a cause, rather than a consequence, of patient satisfaction with the patient-provider relationship, monitoring its effects in general and over time. Binary logistic regressions showed that an increase in IHISB over time improved decision-making, information-flow and trust; and IHISB, in general, negatively affected perceptions of the clarity of providers‟ explanations and patient satisfaction with duration of the encounter, but did not affect reliability and coping. Ultimately, I hope to suggest more targeted health communication interventions to better prepare and unite patients, providers and policymakers as the techno-health-revolution progresses.