This site has been last updated January 28, 2012.

Chronic illness is defined as an illness or disease that is long-term or permanent, as opposed to acute. For many individuals living with a chronic condition, the web has served as an important medium for researching treatment options, developing a support network, and sharing information and experiences with others (Eysenbach, 2003).

Our purpose is to learn about how individuals with chronic illness, and their caregivers, use resources available online. Such resources include sites offering medical information as well as research and experience blogs, forums, and others.

Currently, we are focusing our work on individuals with Lyme disease. Because this illness is disputed in both diagnosis and treatment methods among healthcare professionals (Weintraub, 2008), individuals with Lyme disease depend on online advocacy and activism to manage their condition. At the same time, divergent and conflicting information is common online. How does this affect the experience and outcomes for individuals with Lyme disease?

Current Studies:

Work on these studies has begun in the beginning of 2009 by a team of researchers at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA).

Background Readings

Support for this project

Funding for this project comes from NSF IIS-0916459 (Helping People Negotiate Uncertain Information Online) and Google (Helping people find health resources online)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.