The 2024 ACM Workshop on Secure and Trustworthy Cyber-Physical Systems (SaT-CPS '24)

Exploring the Impact of Increased Health Information Accessibility in Cyberspace on Trust and Self-care Practices

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More health information is in cyberspace than ever before, presenting both opportunities and challenges for health information seeking and self-care practices, particularly in underserved populations who face health disparities for various reasons, including limited healthcare access and high costs. We have investigated the effect of increased health information accessibility in cyberspace on self-care practices and trust in underserved populations of African descent by surveying how increased health information accessibility in cyberspace affects self-care practices and trust in the underserved. Our study observed that online health information seeking is pervasive, growing exponentially and driven by convenience and accessibility of resources, regardless of access to healthcare providers. However, participants expressed concerns about trustworthiness, accuracy, and potential misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment choices. So, it is important to focus on enhancing the trustworthiness and quality of online health information, implementing verification mechanisms to reduce misinformation, and addressing underlying factors driving self-medication.
The paper details the result of our study and contributes to the existing literature by providing a deeper understanding of the motivations, experiences, and outcomes of online health information use and self-care practices among underserved communities of African descent. Our investigation also highlights the need for further research and interventions to address the challenges and opportunities that arise from the increased accessibility of health information in cyberspace and self-care practices in underserved populations.

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cyberspace, misinformation, online health information (ohi), trust, underserved populations


Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

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