Internet use by end-stage renal disease patients
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Information on the prevalence and predictors of use of the Internet by patients can be applied to the design and promotion of healthcare Internet technologies. To our knowledge, few studies on Internet use by end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients have been reported. The objectives of this study are to ascertain the prevalence and predictors of Internet use by ESRD patients among different dialysis modalities. A questionnaire surveying Internet use was delivered in person to 199 conventional hemodialysis patients (57 returned), and mailed to 170 peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients (42 returned), and 65 nocturnal home hemodialysis (NHD) patients (43 returned). Of the respondents, most (58%) have used the Internet to find information on their health condition. The strong majority (76%) of these patients have easy access to the Internet. A higher proportion of NHD patients (86%) used the Internet compared with the PD patients (60%) (p=0.02). Internet use was found to be more prevalent with younger (p<0.001), more educated (p=0.001), and Canadian-born patients (p=0.005). The high prevalence of Internet use and easy access to the Internet by ESRD patients suggest that future Internet information and communication systems for healthcare management in ESRD will likely be well adopted by this patient population.
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