The primary aim of this literature review is to accompany the
Women’s Centrefor Health Matters (2009) Survey on Women’s Access to Health Information inthe ACT
. Other objectives of the literature review include:
To provide evidence based literature to help analyse and discuss theWCHM
ACT Women’s Access to Health Information (2009) Survey
findings. Find similarities and differences and compare study findingsto be able to comment on national and international trends.
To build upon previous research by
Women’s Health Victoria (2003)
which revealed a deficiency in access to health information for Australian women, and to determine whether that deficiency continuesto exists for women in the ACT.
To respond to women who have voiced dissatisfaction with their access to health information and validate the need to improve women’saccess to health information. Adequate access to quality healthinformation (i.e. good health literacy) is seen by the WCHM as anessential part of empowering women and promoting ACT women’shealth and wellbeing.
To examine the growing body of academic research on how adults,particularly women, access and use health information, giving specialattention to sources used and boundaries faced by specific groups of women.
To analyse the impact of technology on the means and trends of accessing health information, such as what sort of health informationwomen are seeking i.e. is it to diagnose acute medical conditions, findspecialists, for general health information, or to network with otherswho share their health conditions.
To define key terms for analysis and future research in this field of study.
Boundaries of the review
Several boundaries governed the scope of this literature review. Firstly, allarticles are from peer reviewed journals to ensure high standards of research.Secondly, almost all literature was published since 2002. This was to avoidduplicating analysis of literature already discussed in papers from the KeyCentre for Women’s Health in Society (covering 1986-1998) and the Women’sHealth Victoria (covering 1998-2003).
However, some articles prior to 2003have been mentioned if they have remained relevant to issues and trendsdiscussed. Another reason for predominantly using recent articles is to takeinto account the rapid increase in Internet usage in recent years. Studies
Murphy, M. & Murphy, B. (2003). “Access to Women’s Health information: Asurvey of Victorian women as Information Seekers”,
Women’s Health Victoria,Melbourne, 3.
Astbury, J, and D. White. (1998)
“Addressing women’s health informationneeds: the adequacy of current and emerging health information systems. Aliterature review”. Melbourne: Key Centre for Women’s Health in Society.