Does the internet displace health professionals?

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Scholars have paid close attention to the effects of the rapidly changing health information environment. The issue of how Internet use for health information affects the frequency of contact with health professionals, however, has not been examined. Directly addressing this issue, a two wave panel dataset is used with a U.S. national representative sample gathered in 2005 and 2006. Overall, the results show that Internet use at Wave 1 positively predicts health professional contact at Wave 2, controlling for Wave 1 health professional contact and other potential confounders. The implications that these findings can have for future research in this area are discussed.

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