Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

Committee Chair

Cochece Davis

Committee Member

Lance Lippert


As more technological media are made available to health consumers, patients take to the Internet to research ailments, side effects, and pressing health matters. Patients widely use this information to feel empowered and in control of their health. Yet, many sources perpetuate false information, or are deemed untrustworthy by healthcare professionals (HCPs). This dissonance can create a lack of collaborative communication between patients and the healthcare team. As such, the present study examined perceived credibility of online sources (.org websites, .com websites, forums, social media, etc.), patient intent to disclose online information, patient empowerment, HCPs communication styles, HCP-patient partnerships and how these components affect collaborative communication. The study used open- and closed-ended questions in a survey instrument that doctors, patients, and nurses completed. Results indicate that .org websites are most revered, some patients feel undeserving of being treated like a partner in the healthcare exchange, and that nurses value nonverbal communication more than doctors. Additional statistical outcomes are present that support the collaborative interpretation and disclosure-decision making models.


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