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Abstract

While the important role of family carers has been increasingly recognized in healthcare service provision, particularly for patients with acute or chronic illnesses, the family carer’s information needs have not been well understood or adequately supported by health information systems. In this study, we explore the information needs of a family carer by analyzing the extensive online diary of a Vietnamese family carer supporting his wife, who was a lung cancer patient. The study provides a deep understanding of the information needs of the family carer and suggests a four-stage information journey model including identification, searching, interpretation and information sharing, and collaboration. A number of themes emerge from the study including the key role of the carer, information filtering by the carer, information sharing and collaboration, and the influence of Vietnamese culture. The paper concludes with a discussion of the requirements for health information systems that meet the needs of family carers.

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