With the popularity of the Internet, more and more people are turning to their computers for health information, advice, support and services. With its information based firmly on research, The Internet and Health Communication provides an in-depth analysis of the changes in human communication and health care resulting from the Internet revolution. Representing a wide range of expertise, the contributors provide an extensive variety of examples from the micro to the macro, including information about HMO web sites, Internet pharmacies, and web-enabled hospitals, to vividly illustrate their findings and conclusions.

An Overview of Experiences and Expectations

An Overview of Experiences and Expectations
An overview of experiences and expectations

We take quite seriously the subtitle of our volume, “experiences and expectations.” In order to be widely adopted, communication technology must fulfill a need; this is an obvious criterion. But it additionally must function in a way that is compatible with the predispositions, needs, and values of humans. This criterion is often overlooked by system designers. In turn, determining what these predispositions are must, at least initially, be predicated on experience.

The Internet is a good example of this principle in action. Before the Internet existed, there were private prototype systems that incorporated all the elements of what we commonly think of as characteristics of the Internet; some of these even included elements that are ...

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