Rice, R.E., Peterson, M. & Christine, R. (2001). A comparative
features analysis of publicly accessible commercial and government
health database web sites. In R.E. Rice & J.E. Katz (Eds.), The
Internet and health communication: Expectations and experiences
(pp. 213-232). Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage.
The goal of this study was to compare the
features of a set of commercial health database sites to those of a set
of government health database sites. Given the different kinds of
cultural imperatives, structural incentives and
constraints, audiences, motivations, purposes, and criteria used by
versus government health, we might expect some differences in the kinds
services and features used by these two types sources.
Tension between Cultural Imperatives and
Structural Incentives and Constraints
Likely Features in Commercial and Government
The final typology included 7 general coding categories, 74 specific
and associated operationalizations. The major categories that
from the prior typologies and our own analysis included: (1)
substantive content (Scientific/Medical/Academic;
Educational/Journalistic/PR/Publicity; Other Resources; and
Website-Specific Columns), (2) E-Commerce, (3) Multimedia Content, (4)
Navigation/Assistance, (5) Search Methods, (6) Interactivity (among
Users; with the Website), and (7) Policy. Features included in
the initial typology but not occurring in these sites include:
E-Commerce: auctions (online bidding for medical products), and online
a fee; Interactive with Website: surveys (usually separate page,
questions about personal information); and Policy: security/encryption
messages, transaction security from main page).
On average, commercial sites offered 22.5 of the 74 features
14 by government sites.
Trends and Implications
here for PDF copy of publication