Health information-seeking behavior provides a variety of benefits, such as reducing knowledge gaps and educating individuals outside the medical office. This study aimed at evaluating if different sources used to gather information on COVID-19 could affect the willingness to undergo dental appointments. An anonymous survey was posted on social media. The 1003 respondents used several channels of communication, clearly distinguishing reliable from unreliable ones. Multiple logistic regression estimated the effect of different information channels on the probability of being strongly influenced by COVID-19 in accessing upcoming dental appointments. Newspapers were the most-used channel of information (61.2%), blogs and forums the least used (11.2%). Overall, the more an individual was informed, the higher was the risk of missing upcoming dental care appointments (OR 2.05, CI 1.45–2.90, p < 0.001). The two most reliable channels of communication were identified in journals/websites of medicine and healthcare professionals. Women proved to be more active in gathering information and relying on less secure but more personal channels, such as social media and friends and family, thus having an increased risk of being influenced by COVID-19 information regarding upcoming dental care appointments (OR 3.62, CI 0.85–15.52, p < 0.1 and OR 1.60, CI 1.00–2.58, p < 0.1, respectively). Social media should have a greater presence on the side of medical service providers to avoid distortions of information and fake news that ultimately cause fear among citizens and compromise their health. Healthcare professionals and institutions should adapt their communication channels based on the audience they want to address to optimize the education and information of the final users.

The Impact of Coronavirus Information-Seeking Behavior on Dental Care Access: A Cross-Sectional Questionnaire-Based Study

Silvia Gallegati
;
Luca Aquilanti;Valerio Temperini;Gloria Polinesi;Giorgio Rappelli.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Health information-seeking behavior provides a variety of benefits, such as reducing knowledge gaps and educating individuals outside the medical office. This study aimed at evaluating if different sources used to gather information on COVID-19 could affect the willingness to undergo dental appointments. An anonymous survey was posted on social media. The 1003 respondents used several channels of communication, clearly distinguishing reliable from unreliable ones. Multiple logistic regression estimated the effect of different information channels on the probability of being strongly influenced by COVID-19 in accessing upcoming dental appointments. Newspapers were the most-used channel of information (61.2%), blogs and forums the least used (11.2%). Overall, the more an individual was informed, the higher was the risk of missing upcoming dental care appointments (OR 2.05, CI 1.45–2.90, p < 0.001). The two most reliable channels of communication were identified in journals/websites of medicine and healthcare professionals. Women proved to be more active in gathering information and relying on less secure but more personal channels, such as social media and friends and family, thus having an increased risk of being influenced by COVID-19 information regarding upcoming dental care appointments (OR 3.62, CI 0.85–15.52, p < 0.1 and OR 1.60, CI 1.00–2.58, p < 0.1, respectively). Social media should have a greater presence on the side of medical service providers to avoid distortions of information and fake news that ultimately cause fear among citizens and compromise their health. Healthcare professionals and institutions should adapt their communication channels based on the audience they want to address to optimize the education and information of the final users.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11566/294522
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