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Keywords:

  • diabetes mellitus;
  • Internet;
  • computer;
  • belief;
  • position;
  • education

Abstract

Use of the Internet to spread information about diabetes is quite important today. Data about the potential auditorium of ‘diabetic’ websites is needed for successful work in this field. We conducted a survey aiming to evaluate the auditorium of such websites and clarify its beliefs concerning diabetes. We used a simple questionnaire, which consisted of six questions about reasons for the respondents' interest in this problem and their professional status, level of knowledge about diabetes and position concerning insulin injections in public places. On the basis of their answers 74 respondents may be divided into four categories: people with diabetes (25%), their friends/relatives (34%), healthcare professionals (HCPs) (11%) and ‘others’ (30%). Opinions of these groups concerning continuing working, pregnancy and prognosis of diabetes were identical to those of expert diabetologists in 27–96%. We also analysed lack of knowledge about diabetes (inability to give an answer) among different groups of respondents. It was more common for ‘others’ (41–59% in different questions) and much less frequent (0–24%) in the three other groups. Concerning insulin injections in the presence of other people the rate of the ‘It's possible’ answer increased in the order ‘others–patients–friends/relatives–HCPs’ and was estimated as 26–27–32–60%. This may indicate that society's potential tolerance to insulin injections may be even higher than persons with diabetes think. This study showed the main groups of visitors of the diabetes-oriented websites. We demonstrated also great ability of the Internet to analyse people's positions, including medical topics. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.