Modelling Information Behaviour of Patients with Chronical Illness: Diabetes and Chronic Heart Conditions

Principal Investigator (PI): Asst Prof Chang Yun-Ke

Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI): Assoc Prof Shaheen Majid, Professor Schubert Foo, Professor Theng Yin Leng

Collaborators: Dr Suri Venkata Ratnadeep

Start Date: Nov 2014

End Date: On-going

Abstract: Accessing critical health-related information is vital for self-healthcare and chronic disease management. The proposed study will investigate health information behaviours of people suffering from two chronic diseases (chronic heart condition and diabetes), that have shown high instances of occurrence in Singapore.

The patient-physician engagement is increasingly characterized by shared decision-making. With raising healthcare costs and frequent shortage of infrastructure and human resources at some hospitals, the emphasis has been further shifted to home care and self-health management for chronically ill patients. However, home care and disease self-management implies that both the patients and their caregivers must have access to important health information and the right skills to understand and use this information.

Most previous studies in health information seeking behaviours have focused on general behaviour patterns, and there is very limited literature on the information behaviours of people suffering from chronic conditions.

The objective of the study is to develop a theoretical model of health information behaviour among chronically ill patients and caregivers and test it with empirical evidence by

1. Investigating how psychosocial (e.g. personality traits), cognitive (e.g. perceived source credibility), and structural (e.g. perceived social support) factors influence health information seeking behaviour and how chronically ill patients and their caregivers apply this information to make decisions relating to health management.

2. Exploring the effects of disease severity on the information behaviour of patients and caregivers.

In addition to contributing to the body of theoretical literature on health information seeking behaviour of chronically ill patients and their caregivers, findings of this project will also provide a basis for the design and development of appropriate support services (i.e. health information provision) to help these patients care for themselves and by their caregivers.

The data collection will be carried out using interviews, focus groups, and survey questionnaires.