The Internet has provided open access to health- and disease-related information for people with chronic diseases. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is mostly chronic, and the treatment of AD often requests some self-management such as skin care. For this situation, adult AD patients may have a motive of obtaining information on AD from various sources such as the Internet. Although the status of Internet access among AD patients has not been thoroughly investigated, knowledge about this status may be useful to understand AD patients in primary care. We studied the actual status among 62 adult Japanese outpatients with AD (male:female = 29:33; mean age [± S.D.]: 27.8 ± 7.9 years). All 62 patients owned cellular phones, while 51 subjects (82.3%) owned personal computers (PCs). Internet web-site information on both general health and AD was more commonly accessed via PCs rather than cellular phones, but the access rates via PCs were only 35.3% among all users of PCs. When AD patients assessed the extent of credibility of web site information on AD on a scale of 0 to 100 points, it was at best 52.4 ± 19.8 points. Moreover, both the duration and severity of AD had a positive influence on the credibility of information on AD. These results suggest that Internet access is not common and the information is not necessarily credible among adult AD patients in Japan, and that more consideration is needed for the Internet to become a powerful and vital source to support health care for AD.
2006 Tohoku University Medical Press