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Digital Divide

  • By: Barbara Cook Overton & Graham D. Bodie
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The advent of the Internet has drastically changed the health information landscape. What once required a trip to a health care professional can now be accessed with a few clicks of a mouse and keyboard. But with the proliferation of readily available information also comes unintended consequences. Significantly, there is a widening level of inequalities in quality health care and its utilization. While the Internet is a potential enabler that catalyzes and contributes to economic, professional, and social success of individuals and communities, patterns of computer and Internet penetration and patterns of technology use for health purposes show substantive differences between various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups in the United States. The term digital divide is used to describe both the inequitable distribution of Internet ...

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