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Ever used computer to look up health information on Internet

Codes and Frequencies

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PCLOOKHELEV indicates whether respondents ever looked up health information on the Internet. For those with an affirmative response, the related variable PCLOOKHELYR indicates whether they looked up health information on the Internet during the past 12 months.

Related Variables 

PCLOOKHELEV and PCLOOKHELYR are one of five sets of paired variables on the use of computers to access health information or services. As the 2009 Field Representative's Manual puts it, "The series of questions are of two parts, one if you've ever done something and then if this has occurred in the past 12 months."

These five sets of questions on computer use comprised the Health Information Technology (HIT) supplement. Via this inquiry, the 2009 NHIS became the first nationally representative household survey to collect data on the use of the Internet as a means of accessing health services and information.

The 2009 Manual explains the rationale for this inquiry as follows:

The purpose of the supplement is to learn where patients and consumers acquire their health information and the demographic and health characteristics of the users. The information will be used to inform HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] Health Information Technology and health communications policy. HHS' goal is to improve patient safety, as well as to allow quick, reliable and secure access to information that promotes the best possible care across the health care system.

The other topics on computer use included in the supplement, and the associated IPUMS NHIS variables, are:

  • Ever used online chat groups to learn about health topics PCCHATHELEV
  • Used online chat groups to learn about health topics, past 12 months (PCCHATHELYR
  • Ever communicated with health care provider using e-mail (PCEMAILHPEV)
  • Communicated with health care provider using e-mail, past 12 months (PCEMAILHPEV)
  • Ever scheduled appointment with health care provider using Internet (PCAPPTHPEV
  • Scheduled appointment with health care provider using Internet, past 12 months (PCAPPTHPYR
  • Ever refilled prescriptions on Internet (PCRXFILLEV)
  • Refilled prescriptions on Internet, past 12 months (PCRXFILLYR


PCLOOKHELEV is only available for 2009.


  • 2009: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 2009