A study of council community directories and their use for information about local health services

Eley, Robert and Hossain, Delwar and Khatri, Yunus (2007) A study of council community directories and their use for information about local health services. Project Report. University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia.

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Abstract

[Executive Summary]: The World Wide Web is a valuable source of information for all sorts of products and services. Town councils use the web to provide town residents and visitors with large amounts of information. One resource provided by many town councils is a community information directory containing details of local services including health services. Other sources of health service information are frequently insufficiently detailed at the local level. The Centre for Rural and Remote Area Health (CRRAH), a joint centre of the universities of Queensland and Southern Queensland, was interested in the value of these directories to town residents as a source about health services. This interest was prompted by the observations from health service providers in southern Queensland that sources of information about services are limited within the communities. Questionnaires were distributed in four towns in southern Queensland by mail and in health clinics. In addition interviews were conducted in the street. All four towns have community information directories. Two directories advertise themselves as a source of health service information. All four directories contain information about health services within the town. The extent of the information varies from town to town according to the criteria that are placed on inclusion. Questions determined the respondents’ use of the internet, awareness of town community directories, use of the local directory to find information about health services and other sources of information. Almost sixty percent of the 1125 respondents use the internet. This was highly correlated with age with fewer than 20% of respondents over 65 using the internet. Only 30% of respondents were aware of the existence of their town’s community directory and this was unrelated to age. Use of community directories for acquiring information about health services was limited to 25% of the people who were aware of the service. Results therefore indicated that use of the local directories for acquiring information about health was limited to one person in 25. The principal source of information about health services is still the family doctor, followed by the telephone directory, friends and relatives. Despite the current low level of awareness and use of web based directories the authors of this report believe that there is a potential to become a valuable and even the primary source of local information about health services. In order for this to occur some changes are necessary. These include: • awareness of the resources has to increase with strategies employed to achieve this ; • directories should be made more user friendly with extensive field testing ; • entries should include both public and private health service providers; • health providers should be supported to enter and update their data; • provision for non internet users should be addressed through printed copies.


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Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: USQ publication. Authors retain copyright.
Depositing User: Dr Robert Eley
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2008 01:26
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: information technology, community health, council community directories, local health services
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1505 Marketing > 150501 Consumer-Oriented Productor Service Development
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
16 Studies in Human Society > 1603 Demography > 160301 Family and Household Studies
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/3498

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