Driving health behavior: The roles of personal health information use and attitudes towards health in women’s cancer screenings

Kristine R. Hearld, Larry R. Hearld, Henna Budhwani, Deirdre McCaughey, Leandra Y. Celaya, Allyson G. Hall


Objective: Our interest in patient attitudes and beliefs and how they contribute to health and health seeking behaviors is based on growing interest in fostering more patient-centered care. This is particularly relevant for cancer screening in women, where the procedures may be viewed as deeply personal and emotionally invasive. There is convincing evidence that health attitudes and beliefs are strong associates of cancer screening among women. The goal of this paper is to examine if accessibility and use of personal health information (PHI) is a positive predictive of cancer related health detection behaviors among United States women. This study is relevant and timely considering the growing focus on prevention in patient-centered care delivery.
Methods: Using data from the 2017 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), this paper employed multivariable path analysis to investigate whether PHI use is related to engaged women’s health detection behaviors, and if this relationship is mediated by self-perceived health status and patient attitudes regarding confidence in their self-care abilities.
Results: This study found that PHI use worked directly on health detection behaviors for intermediate levels of health information only. Our findings also suggest that patient attitudes may only act as a mediator at low levels of information use and when both confidence in self-care abilities and self-assessed health status are considered simultaneously.
Conclusions: As prevention continues to be a key focus of health care, efforts promoting enhanced population health are critically important. With greater expansion of patient portals, health systems and providers are expecting access to greater PHI will promote increased engagement by patients in their self-health. The results of our research suggest that PHI is positive for patients up until a point and that health care delivery professionals may wish to assess the amount and type of information made readily available to the patients they serve related to breast and cervical cancer screenings.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jha.v8n5p58


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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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