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Introduction. The purpose of this study is to examine the use of an online health forum by married Korean women living in the USA who sought help for health and medical issues.

Method. A thousand messages posted to a health forum designed for married Korean women living in the USA were collected in September 2010.

Analysis. Content analysis of the messages identified the purposes of asking questions, relationship between enquirers and patients, major topics of questions, whether questions were asked before or after consulting a doctor, and more.

Results. A typical questioning behaviour in the forum was a woman asking for recommendations of hospitals or doctors, including doctors who spoke Korean; seeking to know the cause of the symptom she was experiencing, or wanting to learn about treatment methods before consulting a doctor. The reasons for the enquirers seeking online help before or instead of consulting doctors included dissatisfaction with the health care system, financial concerns and language barriers.

Conclusion. This study demonstrates that the online health forum has potential to be useful for Korean immigrants in self-diagnosis, self-treatment, and the selection of hospitals or doctors by removing language barriers.

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Information Research, v. 17, no. 2, p. 1-18