Background: First generation Internet technologies such as mailing lists or newsgroups afforded unprecedented levels of information exchange within a variety of interest groups, including those who seek health information. With emergence of the World Wide Web many communication applications were ported to web browsers. One of the driving factors in this phenomenon has been the exchange of experiential or anecdotal knowledge that patients share online, and there is emerging evidence that participation in these forums may be having an impact on people's health decision making. Theoretical frameworks supporting this form of information seeking and learning have yet to be proposed.
Results: In this article, we propose an adaptation of Kolb's experiential learning theory to begin to formulate an experiential health information processing model that may contribute to our understanding of online health information seeking behaviour in this context.
Conclusion: An experiential health information processing model is proposed that can be used as a research framework. Future research directions include investigating the utility of this model in the online health information seeking context, studying the impact of collaborating in these online environments on patient decision making and on health outcomes are provided.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/n-wathen/43/