The Internet offers unlimited possibilities for finding health information. However, the user is often faced with the problem of understanding it. Contextualization has a role to play in enhancing the user’s comprehension. We report on a study which addresses this issue, using a theoretical model of communication whose central theme is that of context. A randomized controlled experimental design was chosen, using as a test-bed the website SeniorGezond we had previously developed. The study was composed of a pre-test, the intervention with the website and a post-test. Participants (n=40) were randomly assigned to exposure or no exposure to contextualization with the website. Results show that contextualization increases understanding for non-knowledgeable users. Furthermore, the participant’s cognitive style was found to be a significant factor on understanding. We also found that participants bring their own contexts such as social context and psychological context to support their understanding.
Internet; communication; consumer health information; contextualization of information; information retrieval.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to have positive effects on the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. A factorial pilot randomized placebo-controlled trial (called MIBS) tested the potential effectiveness of a self-management CBT-based website alongside two medications: methylcellulose and mebeverine, and a placebo. The results showed no significant differences in quality of life or symptom severity measures, but enablement and participant’s global assessment of relief was higher in the website groups.
To conduct a qualitative study nested within this trial, in order to explore patients’ views and experiences of using the CBT-based website to facilitate self-management of IBS.
Semistructured interviews were carried out with patients who had used the website with one session of nurse support (n=16) or the website alone (n=15) while participating in the MIBS trial. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted.
We identified three types of engagement with the CBT-based website. One group of participants, mostly in the website-only condition, had limited or no engagement with the website. One group engaged with the content and advice on practical lifestyle changes. The final group of participants engaged with the content and advice on psychological aspects related to IBS. Similarities and differences between these three groups are explored.
Teaching self-management techniques through a Web intervention was received positively by most of the participants. Concepts linked to cognitive aspects of CBT appeared to be harder for participants to engage with. Participants who received nurse support rated the cognitive aspects more positively, suggesting that some therapy support alongside the website should be considered. However, the Web format was preferred by some who favored anonymity as well as those who appreciated the accessibility and ease of use of this type of management. Suggestions on how to encourage engagement with Web interventions are discussed.
irritable bowel syndrome; cognitive behaviour therapy; Internet; primary care; qualitative research
In this study we investigated whether synaesthesia is associated with a particular cognitive style. Cognitive style refers to preferred modes of information processing, such as a verbal style or a visual style. We reasoned that related to the enriched world of experiences created by synaesthesia, its association with enhanced verbal and visual memory, higher imagery and creativity, synaesthetes might show enhanced preference for a verbal as well as for a visual cognitive style compared to non-synaesthetes. In Study 1 we tested a large convenience sample of 1046 participants, who classified themselves as grapheme-color, sound-color, lexical-gustatory, sequence-space, or as non-synaesthetes. To assess cognitive style, we used the revised verbalizer-visualizer questionnaire (VVQ), which involves three independent cognitive style dimensions (verbal style, visual-spatial style, and vivid imagery style). The most important result was that those who reported grapheme-color synaesthesia showed higher ratings on the verbal and vivid imagery style dimensions, but not on the visual-spatial style dimension. In Study 2 we replicated this finding in a laboratory study involving 24 grapheme-color synaesthetes with objectively confirmed synaesthesia and a closely matched control group. Our results indicate that grapheme-color synaesthetes prefer both a verbal and a specific visual cognitive style. We suggest that this enhanced preference, probably together with the greater ease to switch between a verbal and a vivid visual imagery style, may be related to cognitive advantages associated with grapheme color synaesthesia such as enhanced memory performance and creativity.
visualizer; verbalizer; imagery; learning style; memory; creativity
Internet-delivered interventions can effectively change health risk behaviors and their determinants, but adherence to intervention websites once they are accessed is very low. This study tests whether and how social presence elements can increase website use.
A website about Hepatitis A, B, and C virus infections was used in a preparatory lab-based eye-tracking study assessing whether social presence elements attract participants' attention, because this is a prerequisite for affecting website use. In the following field study, 482 participants representative of the Dutch population were randomized to either a website with or a website without social presence elements. Participants completed a questionnaire of validated measures regarding user perceptions immediately after exposure to the website. Server registrations were used to assess website use.
Participants in the experimental condition focused on the social presence elements, both in terms of frequency (F(1, 98) = 40.34, p<.001) and duration (F(1, 88) = 39.99, p<.001), but did not differ in website use in comparison with the control condition; neither in terms of the number of pages visited (t(456) = 1.44, p = .15), nor in terms of time on the website (t(456) = 0.01, p = .99).
Adding social presence elements did not affect actual use of an intervention website within a public health context. Possible reasons are limited attention for these elements in comparison with the main text and the utilitarian value of intervention websites.
Reviews of internet-based behaviour-change interventions have shown that they can be effective but there is considerable heterogeneity and effect sizes are generally small. In order to advance science and technology in this area, it is essential to be able to build on principles and evidence of behaviour change in an incremental manner. We report the development of an interactive smoking cessation website, StopAdvisor, designed to be attractive and effective across the social spectrum. It was informed by a broad motivational theory (PRIME), empirical evidence, web-design expertise, and user-testing. The intervention was developed using an open-source web-development platform, ‘LifeGuide’, designed to facilitate optimisation and collaboration. We identified 19 theoretical propositions, 33 evidence- or theory-based behaviour change techniques, 26 web-design principles and nine principles from user-testing. These were synthesised to create the website, ‘StopAdvisor’ (see http://www.lifeguideonline.org/player/play/stopadvisordemonstration). The systematic and transparent application of theory, evidence, web-design expertise and user-testing within an open-source development platform can provide a basis for multi-phase optimisation contributing to an ‘incremental technology’ of behaviour change.
Smoking cessation intervention; Internet-based; Website; Theory-based
A table detailing response rates appears on the STI website.
Objectives: To examine the factors that influence respondents' willingness to participate in urinary testing for Chlamydia trachomatis in a general population feasibility survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles.
Methods: 199 sexually experienced, 18–44 year old participants, recruited as part of a larger (n=901) methodological study of sexual attitudes and lifestyles, were invited to provide a urine sample for chlamydial infection testing using ligase chain reaction (LCR) techniques. Analysis of the survey data and in-depth qualitative interviews were undertaken to explore the factors that influenced participants' decisions to participate.
Results: 143/199 (72%) participants agreed to provide a urine sample. The likelihood of providing a urine sample was reduced if other individuals were present in the home at the time of interview (OR 0.42, 95% confidence interval 0.20–0.90, p=0.03). Trust and rapport with the interviewer, understanding the aims of the test, sense of obligation, and perceived importance of the test were identified as additional influencing factors in the in-depth interviews.
Conclusions: Survey respondents' uncertainty or embarrassment at participating in urine testing can be overcome if they are well informed, motivated by the potential health gain, and briefed by trained and confident interviewers.
Key Words: screening; chlamydia; sexually transmitted diseases; survey; sexual behaviour
On-line provision of information during the transition phase after treatment carries great promise in meeting shortcomings in post-treatment care for breast cancer survivors and their partners. The objectives of this study are to describe the development and process evaluation of a tailored informative website and to assess which characteristics of survivors and partners, participating in the feasibility study, are related to visiting the website.
The development process included quantitative and qualitative assessments of survivors’ and partners’ care needs and preferences. Participants’ use and evaluation of the website were explored by conducting baseline and post-measurements. During the intervening 10–12 weeks 57 survivors and 28 partners were granted access to the website.
Fifty-seven percent (n=21) of survivors who took part in the post-measurement indicated that they had visited the website. Compared to non-visitors (n=16), they were more likely to have a partner and a higher income, reported higher levels of self-esteem and had completed treatment for a longer period of time. Partners who consulted the on-line information (42%, n=8) were younger and reported lower levels of social support compared to partners who did not visit the website (n=11). Visitors generally evaluated the content and lay-out positively, yet some believed the information was incomplete and impersonal.
The website reached only about half of survivors and partners, yet was mostly well-received. Besides other ways of providing information and support, a website containing clear-cut and tailored information could be a useful tool in post-treatment care provision.
Breast cancer; Partner; Design study; Process evaluation; Internet; Survivorship
Despite growing emphasis on public reporting of health care quality data, available data are often ignored.
To evaluate the usefulness of web-based physician-level data for patients choosing a new primary care physician (PCP).
Patients seeking a new PCP (n = 2225) were invited to view web-based information including PCP credentials, personal characteristics, office location and hours, and patient experience scores. Patient experience scores included validated measures of interpersonal quality, appointment access, care coordination, health promotion, and patient recommendations of the PCP. After viewing the website, participants indicated their preferred PCP and completed a study questionnaire.
Of the invited participants, 17% visited the website (n = 382). Patient experience scores were cited most frequently as important to physician choice (51%). Among these measures, patients’ highest priorities were interpersonal quality (37%) and patient recommendations of the PCP (41%). For patients citing these priorities, the odds of choosing a highly scored physician after viewing the data was nearly 10 times that of choosing such a physician by chance (odds ratio (OR) = 9.52 and 9.71, respectively).
Targeting patients known to be making a health care decision appears to promote the use of performance data. Patients particularly valued data concerning other patients’ experiences and, after viewing the data, made choices well-aligned with their priorities.
health care decision-making; physician performance measures; public reporting; patient care experience measures
While physical activity in individuals tends to decline steadily with age, there are certain periods where this decline occurs more rapidly, such as during early adulthood. Interventions aimed at attenuating the declines in physical activity during this transition period appear warranted.
The purpose of the study was to test the feasibility and efficacy of a theoretically informed, website-delivered physical activity intervention aimed at students entering university.
Using a quasi-experimental design, 65 participants (44 females; mean age 18.51, SD 0.91) were assigned to either an intervention (receiving website access plus weekly prompts) or comparison condition (receiving unprompted website access only), completing questionnaires at baseline and follow-up 8 weeks later. The intervention website, “Active Transition”, was specifically designed to target students’ physical activity cognitions and self-regulatory skills.
Intervention usage was low, with only 47% (18/38) of participants assigned to the intervention condition logging into the website 2 or more times. Among the broader student sample, there were significant declines in students’ physical activity behaviors (F
1,63=18.10, P<.001), attitudes (F
1,62=55.19, P<.001), and perceived behavioral control (F
1,62 =17.56, P<.001). In comparisons between intervention users (29/65, individuals logging in 2 or more times) and non-users (36/65, individuals logging in once or not at all), there was a significant interaction effect for intervention usage and time on perceived behavioral control (F
Poor intervention usage suggests that future efforts need to incorporate innovative strategies to increase intervention uptake and better engage the student population. The findings, however, suggest that a website-delivered intervention aimed at this critical life stage may have positive impact on students’ physical activity cognitions. Future studies with more rigorous sampling designs are required.
physical activity; efficacy trial; Internet-based intervention; university students
To describe how cognitive testing results were used to inform the modification and selection of items for the Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Hospital Survey pilot test instrument.
Cognitive interviews were conducted on 31 subjects in two rounds of testing: in December 2002–January 2003 and in February 2003. In both rounds, interviews were conducted in northern California, southern California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.
A common protocol served as the basis for cognitive testing activities in each round. This protocol was modified to enable testing of the items as interviewer-administered and self-administered items and to allow members of each of three research teams to use their preferred cognitive research tools.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods
Each research team independently summarized, documented, and reported their findings. Item-specific and general issues were noted. The results were reviewed and discussed by senior staff from each research team after each round of testing, to inform the acceptance, modification, or elimination of candidate items.
Many candidate items required modification because respondents lacked the information required to answer them, respondents failed to understand them consistently, the items were not measuring the constructs they were intended to measure, the items were based on erroneous assumptions about what respondents wanted or experienced during their hospitalization, or the items were asking respondents to make distinctions that were too fine for them to make. Cognitive interviewing enabled the detection of these problems; an understanding of the etiology of the problem informed item revisions. However, for some constructs, the revisions proved to be inadequate. Accordingly, items could not be developed to provide acceptable measures of certain constructs such as shared decision making, coordination of care, and delays in the admissions process.
Cognitive testing is the most direct way of finding out whether respondents understand questions consistently, have the information needed to answer the questions, and can use the response alternatives provided to describe their experiences or their opinions accurately. Many of the candidate questions failed to meet these standards. Cognitive testing only evaluates the way in which respondents understand and answer questions. Although it does not directly assess the validity of the answers, it is a reasonable premise that cognitive problems will seriously compromise validity and reliability.
Survey research and questionnaire design; hospitals; cognitive interviewing; CAHPS; patient assessment/satisfaction
Objective To evaluate the efficacy of two internet interventions for community-dwelling individuals with symptoms of depression—a psychoeducation website offering information about depression and an interactive website offering cognitive behaviour therapy.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Internet users in the community, in Canberra, Australia.
Participants 525 individuals with increased depressive symptoms recruited by survey and randomly allocated to a website offering information about depression (n = 166) or a cognitive behaviour therapy website (n = 182), or a control intervention using an attention placebo (n = 178).
Main outcome measures Change in depression, dysfunctional thoughts; knowledge of medical, psychological, and lifestyle treatments; and knowledge of cognitive behaviour therapy.
Results Intention to treat analyses indicated that information about depression and interventions that used cognitive behaviour therapy and were delivered via the internet were more effective than a credible control intervention in reducing symptoms of depression in a community sample. For the intervention that delivered cognitive behaviour therapy the reduction in score on the depression scale of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies was 3.2 (95% confidence interval 0.9 to 5.4). For the “depression literacy” site (BluePages), the reduction was 3.0 (95% confidence interval 0.6 to 5.2). Cognitive behaviour therapy (MoodGYM) reduced dysfunctional thinking and increased knowledge of cognitive behaviour therapy. Depression literacy (BluePages) significantly improved participants' understanding of effective evidence based treatments for depression (P < 0.05).
Conclusions Both cognitive behaviour therapy and psychoeducation delivered via the internet are effective in reducing symptoms of depression.
A new protocol for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing within the UK cervical screening programme commenced in April 2011, creating new patient experiences. This is the first review to synthesise a substantial body of international evidence of women's information needs, views and preferences regarding HPV testing. We aimed to inform the development of educational materials to promote informed choice, reduce anxiety and improve disease control.
We searched 12 bibliographic databases. Two reviewers independently screened papers and assessed study quality; disagreements were resolved by discussion. Results were extracted verbatim and authors' findings treated as primary data. Studies were synthesised collaboratively using framework methods.
We synthesised findings from 17 studies. Women had overwhelmingly negative concerns; an HPV diagnosis was daunting, had associated problems of disclosure of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), impacted on relationships and provoked fear of stigmatisation. Nevertheless, many thought HPV testing could be a preferable alternative to repeat cytology. Knowledge was poor; women struggled to interpret limited information in the context of existing knowledge about STIs and cervical cancer.
Women are likely to be poorly informed, have limited understanding and many unanswered questions. This could increase anxiety and reduce ability to make informed choices, presenting a substantial challenge for those who design and provide information.
human papillomavirus; cervical screening; cervical cancer; systematic review
To investigate whether Danish providers of general health checks present a balanced account of possible benefits and harms on their websites and whether the health checks are evidence-based.
Methods and Design
Cross-sectional study. The search engines Google and Jubii (Danish) were in July and August 2009 used to identify 56 websites using Danish search terms for “health check” and “health examination”. The content of the websites were evaluated using a checklist with 15 officially recommended information items. All tests offered through the websites were registered. The evidence for tests offered through at least 10% of the websites was identified in structured searches using PubMed and The Cochrane Library.
We found 36 different tests on 56 websites offering health checks. Twenty one tests were offered on at least 10% of the websites. Seventeen (81%) of these tests were unsupported by evidence, or there was evidence against them for screening purposes. We found evidence supporting screening using body-mass-index, blood pressure, cholesterol, and faecal occult blood testing. None of the websites mentioned possible risks or harms. The websites presented a median of 1 of the 15 information items; the highest number from any provider was 2.
Information from Danish providers of health checks was sparse and tests were often offered against existing evidence or despite lack of evidence. None of the included websites mentioned potential risks or harms.
Systematic reviews have developed into a powerful method for summarising and synthesising evidence. The rise in systematic reviews creates a methodological opportunity and associated challenges and this is seen in the development of overviews, or reviews of systematic reviews. One of these challenges is how to summarise evidence from systematic reviews of complex interventions for inclusion in an overview. Interventions for communicating with and involving consumers in their care are frequently complex. In this article we outline a method for preparing data integration tables to enable review-level synthesis of the evidence on interventions for communication and participation in health.
Methods and Results
Systematic reviews published by the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group were utilised as the basis from which to develop linked steps for data extraction, evidence assessment and synthesis. The resulting output is called a data integration table. Four steps were undertaken in designing the data integration tables: first, relevant information for a comprehensive picture of the characteristics of the review was identified from each review, extracted and summarised. Second, results for the outcomes of the review were assessed and translated to standardised evidence statements. Third, outcomes and evidence statements were mapped into an outcome taxonomy that we developed, using language specific to the field of interventions for communication and participation. Fourth, the implications of the review were assessed after the mapping step clarified the level of evidence available for each intervention.
The data integration tables represent building blocks for constructing overviews of review-level evidence and for the conduct of meta-synthesis. Individually, each table aims to improve the consistency of reporting on the features and effects of interventions for communication and participation; provides a broad assessment of the strength of evidence derived from different methods of analysis; indicates a degree of certainty with results; and reports outcomes and gaps in the evidence in a consistent and coherent way. In addition, individual tables can serve as a valuable tool for accurate dissemination of large amounts of complex information on communication and participation to professionals as well as to members of the public.
While some researchers have suggested that preferences for attractive faces are the result of a domain-specific beauty detection module, others argue these preferences develop based on averages of stimuli through a domain-general learning mechanism. We tested whether cognitive and perceptual mechanisms sensitive to experience underlie facial preferences by familiarizing participants with human, chimpanzee, or morphed faces (60%-chimp/40%-human). Results indicated that participants familiarized with human-chimp morphs showed greater zygomaticus major activity, a physiological correlate of positive affect (Study 1), and higher explicit attractiveness ratings (Study 2) to faces morphed to some degree with chimpanzees. These results demonstrate that experience shifts attractiveness preferences away from the normative average, and suggest that a domain-general cognitive mechanism better accounts for facial preferences than a domain-specific innate beauty-detector.
Many medical educators are experimenting with innovative ways of E-learning. E-learning provides opportunities to students for self-directed learning in addition to other advantages. In this study, we designed and evaluated an interactive E-learning module in pharmacology for effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility, with the aim of promoting active learning in this fact-filled subject. A quasi-experimental single-group pre-test/post-test study was conducted with fourth-semester students of the second professionals course (II MBBS), selected using non-probability convenience sampling method. An E-learning module in endocrine pharmacology was designed to comprise three units of interactive PowerPoint presentations. The pre-validated presentations were uploaded on the website according to a predefined schedule and the 42 registered students were encouraged to self-learning using these interactive presentations. Cognitive gain was assessed using an online pre- and post-test for each unit. Students’ perceptions were recorded using an online feedback questionnaire on a 5-point Likert scale. Finally, focused group discussion was conducted to further explore students’ views on E-learning activity. Significant attrition was observed during the E-learning activity. Of the 42 registered students, only 16 students completed the entire E-learning module. The summed average score of all three units (entire module) was increased significantly from 38.42 % (summed average pre-test score: 11.56/30 ± 2.90) to 66.46 % (summed average post-test score: 19.94/30 ± 6.13). The class-average normalized gain for the entire module was 0.4542 (45.42). The students accepted this E-learning activity well as they perceived it to be innovative, convenient, flexible and useful. The average rating was between 4 (agree) and 5 (strongly agree). The interactive E-learning module in pharmacology was moderately effective and well perceived by the students. The simple, cost-effective and readily available Microsoft PowerPoint tool appealed to medical educators to use this kind of simple E-learning technology blended with traditional teaching to encourage active learning among students especially in a rural setup is attractive.
E-learning; Pharmacology; Active learning; Self-learning; PowerPoint
Two priming experiments demonstrated exogenous attentional persistence to the fundamental auditory dimensions of frequency (Experiment 1) and time (Experiment 2). In a divided-attention task, participants responded to an independent dimension, the identification of three-tone sequence patterns, for both prime and probe stimuli. The stimuli were specifically designed to parallel the local–global hierarchical letter stimuli of [Navon D. (1977). Forest before trees: The precedence of global features in visual perception. Cognitive Psychology, 9, 353–383] and the task was designed to parallel subsequent work in visual attention using Navon stimuli [Robertson, L. C. (1996). Attentional persistence for features of hierarchical patterns. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 125, 227–249; Ward, L. M. (1982). Determinants of attention to local and global features of visual forms. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 8, 562–581]. The results are discussed in terms of previous work in auditory attention and previous approaches to auditory local–global processing.
Audition; Attention; Priming; Global; Local; Hierarchical; Frequency; Time; Temporal
Objective To explore the experiences and perceptions of general practitioners and community nurses in discussing preferences for place of death with terminally ill patients.
Design Qualitative study using semistructured interviews and thematic analysis.
Participants 17 general practitioners and 19 nurses (16 district nurses, three clinical nurse specialists).
Setting 15 general practices participating in the Gold Standards Framework for palliative care from three areas in central England with differing socio-geography. Practices were selected on the basis of size and level of adoption of the standards framework.
Results All interviewees bar one had experience of discussing preferred place of death with terminally ill patients. They reported that preferences for place of death frequently changed over time and were often ill defined or poorly formed in patients’ minds. Preferences were often described as being co-created in discussion with the patient or, conversely, inferred by the health professional without direct questioning or receiving a definitive answer from the patient. This inherent uncertainty challenged the practicability, usefulness, and value of recording a definitive preference. The extent to which the assessment of enabling such preferences can be used as a proxy for the effectiveness of palliative care delivery is also limited by this uncertainty. Generally, interviewees did not find discussing preferred place of death an easy area of practice, unless the patient broached the subject or led the discussions.
Conclusions Further research is needed to enable development of appropriate training and support for primary care professionals. Better understanding of the importance of place of death to patients and their carers is also needed.
Although end-of-life care preferences vary across racial/ethnic groups, little is known about how cultural values affect end-of-life care preferences among South Asian immigrants and their offspring in the US.
To examine the perspectives of first- and second-generation South Asians living in the US regarding end-of-life care.
Focus group study. Discussions explored participant preferences and experiences with family members facing the end of life.
Twelve first-generation and 11 second-generation self-identified Asian Indians living in the mid-Atlantic region.
Content analysis of focus group transcripts.
First-generation participants ranged in age from 41 to 76 years and were evenly split by gender. Second-generation participants ranged in age from 23 to 36 years and included seven women and four men. All participants were highly educated, and two thirds were either studying or working in a health care field. All but two subjects were Hindu. Several themes emerged that highlighted cultural differences and challenges for this population in the context of end-of-life care: attitudes toward death and suffering; family duty; and preferences for information disclosure and decision making. Participants described cultural challenges due to the evolution of traditional roles, lack of explicit discussion between patients and family members about preferences and care expectations, and a tension between wanting to meet traditional expectations and the challenges in doing so given US social realities.
Traditional cultural values, such as duty to family, greatly influenced end-of-life care preferences and retained importance across generations. Clinicians caring for Asian Indian patients at the end of life may be better able to assess care preferences after exploring the complex interplay between traditional expectations and specific social realities for each patient. Particular attention should be given to attitudes toward death and suffering, family duty, and preferences for information disclosure and decision making.
cultural differences; end-of-life care; advance directives; immigrant health; qualitative research
How do people decide which sites to use when seeking health advice online? We can assume, from related work in e-commerce, that general design factors known to affect trust in the site are important, but in this paper we also address the impact of factors specific to the health domain.
The current study aimed to (1) assess the factorial structure of a general measure of Web trust, (2) model how the resultant factors predicted trust in, and readiness to act on, the advice found on health-related websites, and (3) test whether adding variables from social cognition models to capture elements of the response to threatening, online health-risk information enhanced the prediction of these outcomes.
Participants were asked to recall a site they had used to search for health-related information and to think of that site when answering an online questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of a general Web trust questionnaire plus items assessing appraisals of the site, including threat appraisals, information checking, and corroboration. It was promoted on the hungersite.com website. The URL was distributed via Yahoo and local print media. We assessed the factorial structure of the measures using principal components analysis and modeled how well they predicted the outcome measures using structural equation modeling (SEM) with EQS software.
We report an analysis of the responses of participants who searched for health advice for themselves (N = 561). Analysis of the general Web trust questionnaire revealed 4 factors: information quality, personalization, impartiality, and credible design. In the final SEM model, information quality and impartiality were direct predictors of trust. However, variables specific to eHealth (perceived threat, coping, and corroboration) added substantially to the ability of the model to predict variance in trust and readiness to act on advice on the site. The final model achieved a satisfactory fit: χ2
5 = 10.8 (P = .21), comparative fit index = .99, root mean square error of approximation = .052. The model accounted for 66% of the variance in trust and 49% of the variance in readiness to act on the advice.
Adding variables specific to eHealth enhanced the ability of a model of trust to predict trust and readiness to act on advice.
Internet, trust, e-health, threat, fear-appeal, social cognition models.
A discrete choice experiment (DCE) is a preference survey which asks participants to make a choice among product portfolios comparing the key product characteristics by performing several choice tasks. Analyzing DCE data needs to account for within-participant correlation because choices from the same participant are likely to be similar. In this study, we empirically compared some commonly-used statistical methods for analyzing DCE data while accounting for within-participant correlation based on a survey of patient preference for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening tests conducted in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 2002.
A two-stage DCE design was used to investigate the impact of six attributes on participants' preferences for CRC screening test and willingness to undertake the test. We compared six models for clustered binary outcomes (logistic and probit regressions using cluster-robust standard error (SE), random-effects and generalized estimating equation approaches) and three models for clustered nominal outcomes (multinomial logistic and probit regressions with cluster-robust SE and random-effects multinomial logistic model). We also fitted a bivariate probit model with cluster-robust SE treating the choices from two stages as two correlated binary outcomes. The rank of relative importance between attributes and the estimates of β coefficient within attributes were used to assess the model robustness.
In total 468 participants with each completing 10 choices were analyzed. Similar results were reported for the rank of relative importance and β coefficients across models for stage-one data on evaluating participants' preferences for the test. The six attributes ranked from high to low as follows: cost, specificity, process, sensitivity, preparation and pain. However, the results differed across models for stage-two data on evaluating participants' willingness to undertake the tests. Little within-patient correlation (ICC ≈ 0) was found in stage-one data, but substantial within-patient correlation existed (ICC = 0.659) in stage-two data.
When small clustering effect presented in DCE data, results remained robust across statistical models. However, results varied when larger clustering effect presented. Therefore, it is important to assess the robustness of the estimates via sensitivity analysis using different models for analyzing clustered data from DCE studies.
Discrete choice experiment; Intra-class correlation; Statistical model; Patient preference
Many medical errors occur during the laboratory testing process, including lost test results. Patient inquiry concerning results often represents the final safety net for locating lost results. This qualitative study sought to identify, from a patient perspective, specific preferences and factors that influence the process of communicating normal (negative) laboratory test results to patients.
We conducted 30-minute guided interviews with 20 adult patients. Patients were recruited from two practice-based research networks in Colorado that were participating in a medical errors study. A semi-structured interview elicited the participant's experience with and preference for laboratory test result notification. Quantitative descriptive statistics were generated for demographic and preference data. Qualitative results were analyzed by a team of experienced qualitative researchers using multiple styles of qualitative analyses, including a template approach and an editing approach.
Ninety percent of participants wanted to be notified of all tests results. Important issues related to notification included privacy, responsive and interactive feedback, convenience, timeliness, and provision of details. Telephone notification was preferred, followed by regular mail. Electronic notification was perceived as uncomfortable because it was not secure. While 65% preferred being notified by a provider, participants acknowledge that this may be impractical; thus, they wanted to be notified by someone knowledgeable enough to answer questions. Participants do not normally discuss their preferences for test result notification with their providers.
Privacy, responsive and interactive feedback, convenience, and timeliness with detailed information may be critical for patient satisfaction and for improving patient safety, and are features that may be incorporated into emerging communication channels.
Objective: A user-focused design approach was taken to develop a new “live reference” service at the Health Sciences Library, University of Saskatchewan. The name of the service, the placement of the links, and the design of a graphical button were seen as key elements in creating service awareness and its subsequent use.
Methods: To ensure library users recognized and understood the label for the new service, selected library users were given an opportunity to choose a phrase that would best describe the service. The top two preferred phrases were then placed on the library Web pages as text and graphic images for further testing. Some pages had links in multiple locations to determine which placement worked best. Task-based usability testing was carried out with participants who were unaware of the new service. Participants were observed as they completed seven Website tasks arranged in increasing levels of difficulty to see whether they would notice the live reference service and seek assistance.
Results: The high level of recognition and use of the service indicate that the label name and link placement were effective with library Website users.
Conclusions: Using user-centered design methodology helped ensure that the new live reference service was visible and used and demonstrated the effectiveness of the user-centered design approach for adding new services to an existing Website.
GPs' adherence to clinical practice guidelines is variable. Barriers to guideline implementation have been identified but qualitative studies have not been synthesised to explore what underpins these attitudes.
To explore and synthesise qualitative research on GPs' attitudes to and experiences with clinical practice guidelines.
Design of study
Systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative studies.
PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, Social Science Citation Index, and Science Citation Index were used as data sources, and independent data extraction was carried out. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus. Initial thematic analysis was conducted, followed by interpretative synthesis.
Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria. Five were excluded following quality appraisal. Twelve papers were synthesised which reported research in the UK, US, Canada, and the Netherlands, and covered different clinical guideline topics. Six themes were identified: questioning the guidelines, GPs' experience, preserving the doctor–patient relationship, professional responsibility, practical issues, and guideline format. Comparative analysis and synthesis revealed that GPs' reasons for not following guidelines differed according to whether the guideline in question was prescriptive, in that it encouraged a certain type of behaviour or treatment, or proscriptive, in that it discouraged certain treatments or behaviours.
Previous analyses of guidelines have focused on professional attitudes and organisational barriers to adherence. This synthesis suggests that the purpose of the guideline, whether its aims are prescriptive or proscriptive, may influence if and how guidelines are received and implemented.
attitudes of health personnel; general practice; guideline adherence; guidelines; meta-synthesis; qualitative research
We report an investigation of humans' musical learning ability using a novel musical system. We designed an artificial musical system based on the Bohlen-Pierce scale, a scale very different from Western music. Melodies were composed from chord progressions in the new scale by applying the rules of a finite-state grammar. After exposing participants to sets of melodies, we conducted listening tests to assess learning, including recognition tests, generalization tests, and subjective preference ratings. In Experiment 1, participants were presented with 15 melodies 27 times each. Forced choice results showed that participants were able to recognize previously encountered melodies and generalize their knowledge to new melodies, suggesting internalization of the musical grammar.
Preference ratings showed no differentiation among familiar, new, and ungrammatical melodies. In Experiment 2, participants were given 10 melodies 40 times each. Results showed superior recognition but unsuccessful generalization. Additionally, preference ratings were significantly higher for familiar melodies. Results from the two experiments suggest that humans can internalize the grammatical structure of a new musical system following exposure to a sufficiently large set size of melodies, but musical preference results from repeated exposure to a small number of items. This dissociation between grammar learning and preference will be further discussed.
music cognition; statistical learning; artificial grammar; melody; harmony; preference