University of Oulu

Huvila, I., Moll, J., Enwald, H., Hirvonen, N., Åhlfeldt, R. and Cajander, Å. (2019). Age-related differences in seeking clarification to understand medical record information In Proceedings of ISIC, The Information Behaviour Conference, Krakow, Poland, 9-11 October: Part 2. Information Research, 24(1), paper isic1834. Retrieved from (Archived by WebCite® at

Age-related differences in seeking clarification to understand medical record information

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Author: Huvila, Isto1; Moll, Jonas2; Enwald, Heidi3;
Organizations: 1Department of ALM at Uppsala University, Box 256, 75105 Uppsala, Sweden
2Department of Information Technology at Uppsala University, Box 337 Uppsala
3nformation Studies at the University of Oulu, P.O.Box 8000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
4Information Studies at the University of Oulu, P.O Box 1000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
5Informatics at the University of Skövde, P.O Box 408, SE 541 28 Skövde, Sweden
6Human Computer Interaction at the Department of Information Technology at Uppsala University, Box 337 Uppsala
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: University of Borås, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-03-05


Introduction: Patient accessible electronic health records can be used to inform and empower patients. However, their use may require complementary information seeking since they can be difficult to interpret. So far, relatively little is known of the information seeking that takes place in connection to health record use, and especially the way it varies in different age groups. A better understanding of patients’ preferences of where and how to find explanatory information provides valuable input for the development of health information provision and counselling services.

Method: The analysis is based on the results of a national survey of Swedish individuals (N=1,411) who had used a national patient accessible electronic health record system (Journalen).

Analysis: The data were analysed in SPSS 24.0 using Kruskal-Wallis tests for detecting group-wise differences and Jonckheere-Terpstra tests for discovering age-related trends in the data.

Findings: Older patients were more likely to use a telephone and younger patients to use social contacts to ask for clarification. Generally, older adults born between 1946–1960 appear as passive information seekers.

Conclusion: Age groups differ in their preferences on how to seek clarification, which underlines the importance of a better understanding of individual differences in delivering not only technically but also intellectually accessible health information. Calling by telephone could be a habit of present older generations whereas, to a degree, searching information online could be a comparable habit of current younger generations.

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Series: Information research. An international electronic journal
ISSN: 1368-1613
ISSN-E: 1368-1613
ISSN-L: 1368-1613
Volume: 24
Issue: 1
Article number: isic1834
Conference: Information Behaviour Conference
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: The work of Huvila, Enwald and Hirvonen is a part of the work of the Academy of Finland funded research project Taking Health Information Behaviour into Account: implications of a neglected element for successful implementation of consumer health technologies on older adults (HIBA). Huvila, Moll, Åhlfeldt and Cajander have worked on the paper as members of the DOME research consortium (
Copyright information: © the authors, 2019.