Aspects of consumer search for health information: A framework for structuring information problems

Academic Article


  • Consumer search for health information is the focus of increasing scholarly activity and administrative thinking. It has drawn attention in many circles of inquiry including marketing, health-care, and public policy. Because of this widespread attention, the literature is rather fragmented and therefore research problems are not easily defined. This paper presents an integrative framework to hlep formulate health information problems more precisely and to distinguish important areas for continued research efforts. Three major aspects of consumer search for health information are identified: sources, effort, and topics. These aspects-and the interrelationships among them-comprise the framework. Related research can be categorized and synthesized, and then critical gaps in the research streams become more evident. Furthermore, the framework can be applied to particular information problems to both clarify the issues and to communicate those issues to health care managers and relevant constituencies. Applied examples discussed in this paper are: (1) direct-to-consumer advertising, (2) telephone information services, (3) hospital mortality data. © 1994 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bunn MD
  • Start Page

  • 75
  • End Page

  • 98
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 3-4