A rapid review of consumer health information needs and preferences

Imogen Ramsey, Nadia Corsini, Micah D.J. Peters, Marion Eckert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)



This rapid review summarizes best available evidence on consumers’ needs and preferences for information about healthcare, with a focus on the Australian context. Three questions are addressed: 1) Where do consumers find and what platform do they use to access information about healthcare? 2) How do consumers use the healthcare information that they find? 3) About which topics or subjects do consumers need healthcare information?


A hierarchical approach was adopted with evidence first sought from reviews then high quality studies using Medline (via PubMed), CINAHL, Embase, the JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, the Campbell Collaboration Library of Systematic Reviews, EPPI-Centre, and Epistemonikos. 


Twenty-eight articles were included; four systematic reviews, three literature reviews, thirteen quantitative studies, six qualitative studies, and two mixed methods studies. 


Consumers seek health information at varying times along the healthcare journey and through various modes of delivery. Complacency with historical health information modes is no longer appropriate and flexibility is essential to suit growing consumer demands. 

Practice implications 

Health information should be readily available in different formats and not exclusive to any single medium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1634-1642
Number of pages9
JournalPatient education and counseling
Issue number9
Early online date10 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer health information
  • Information seeking behavior
  • Patient education


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