Patient requests for radiological services: an Australian study of patient agency and the impact of online health information

Lizzie De Silva*, Melissa Baysari, Melanie Keep, Peter Kench, Jillian Clarke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Issue Addressed: The Internet has been instrumental in patients' knowledge about health and medicine through increasing consultation of online sources that advocate self-management. For example, those patients who request referrals from their doctors for tests and procedures in radiology. Such patient-initiated referral requests can devolutionise the traditional model of health care. This study aimed to understand individuals who sought online health information (OHI) and whether requests for radiological referrals were the result of OHI seeking. Methods: The individuals targeted were those who have had a radiological procedure in the past 5 years. Using an online survey tool, individuals completed a 20-min anonymous survey. Included in the survey was a validated digital health literacy measurement scale, eHEALS. Results: Those who scored higher on the eHEALS measure were likely to be under 55 years of age and were more inclined to request radiological referrals. Though they were not concerned with the credibility of sourced websites, most secured the desired outcome from their requests. Conclusion: Overall, this study indicates that patients are consulting online sites for health information, and individuals with higher digital literacy scores are asking doctors for referrals for radiological tests and procedures. These findings confirm our anecdotal experience in radiology departments. So what?: In conducting this study, we hope to better inform radiology and other health practitioners of the way OHI is impacting clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-442
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number2
Early online date31 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • doctor-patient relationship
  • eHealth
  • empowerment
  • health-seeking
  • Internet
  • online health
  • patient requested studies
  • radiology


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