Although there is broad consensus that careful content vetting and user testing is important in the development of technology-based educational interventions, often these steps are overlooked. This paper highlights the development of a theory-guided, web-based communication aid (CONNECT™), designed to facilitate treatment decision making among patients with advanced cancer.
The communication aid included an online survey, patient skills training module and an automated physician report. Development steps included: 1) evidence-based content development, 2) usability testing, 3) pilot testing, and 4) patient utilization and satisfaction.
Usability testing identified some confusing directions and navigation for the on-line survey and validated the relevance of the “patient testimonials” in the skills module. Preliminary satisfaction from the implementation of the communication aid showed that 66% found the survey length reasonable and 70% found it helpful in talking with the physician. Seventy percent reported the skills module helpful and about half found it affected the consultation.
Designing patient education interventions for translation into practice requires the integration of health communication best practice including user feedback along the developmental process.
This developmental process can be translated to a broad array of community based patient and provider educational interventions.
Keywords: usability testing, web-based education, provider patient communication, cancer treatment, health communication, intervention development, decision aids