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1.  A web-based intervention to support self-management of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: effect on self-efficacy, self-care and diabetes distress 
Management of diabetes mellitus is complex and involves controlling multiple risk factors that may lead to complications. Given that patients provide most of their own diabetes care, patient self-management training is an important strategy for improving quality of care. Web-based interventions have the potential to bridge gaps in diabetes self-care and self-management. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of a web-based patient self-management intervention on psychological (self-efficacy, quality of life, self-care) and clinical (blood pressure, cholesterol, glycemic control, weight) outcomes.
For this cohort study we used repeated-measures modelling and qualitative individual interviews. We invited patients with type 2 diabetes to use a self-management website and asked them to complete questionnaires assessing self-efficacy (primary outcome) every three weeks for nine months before and nine months after they received access to the website. We collected clinical outcomes at three-month intervals over the same period. We conducted in-depth interviews at study conclusion to explore acceptability, strengths and weaknesses, and mediators of use of the website. We analyzed the data using a qualitative descriptive approach and inductive thematic analysis.
Eighty-one participants (mean age 57.2 years, standard deviation 12) were included in the analysis. The self-efficacy score did not improve significantly more than expected after nine months (absolute change 0.12; 95% confidence interval −0.028, 0.263; p = 0.11), nor did clinical outcomes. Website usage was limited (average 0.7 logins/month). Analysis of the interviews (n = 21) revealed four themes: 1) mediators of website use; 2) patterns of website use, including role of the blog in driving site traffic; 3) feedback on website; and 4) potential mechanisms for website effect.
A self-management website for patients with type 2 diabetes did not improve self-efficacy. Website use was limited. Although its perceived reliability, availability of a blog and emailed reminders drew people to the website, participants’ struggles with type 2 diabetes, competing priorities in their lives, and website accessibility were barriers to its use. Future interventions should aim to integrate the intervention seamlessly into the daily routine of end users such that it is not seen as yet another chore.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12911-014-0117-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4272538  PMID: 25495847
Diabetes mellitus; Online systems; Patient self-management; Self-efficacy; Repeated measures modelling; Qualitative methods
2.  User-centered design of a web-based self-management site for individuals with type 2 diabetes – providing a sense of control and community 
To design and test a web-based self-management tool for patients with type 2 diabetes for its usability and feasibility.
An evidence-based, theory-driven website was created for patients with type 2 diabetes. Twenty-three patients with type 2 diabetes aged ≥ 25 years were recruited from 2 diabetes care centers in Toronto, Canada. We employed focus group methodology to assess acceptability, sustainability, strengths and weaknesses of the self-management website. Based on these results, revisions were made to the website. Three cycles of individual usability testing sessions using cognitive task analysis were conducted with patients with type 2 diabetes. Revisions to the website were made based on results from this testing.
We identified five themes concerning participants’ experiences of health care and related unmet needs: 1) Desire for information and for greater access to timely and personalized care to gain a sense of control of their disease; 2) Desire for community (sharing experiences with others) to fulfill practical and emotional needs; 3) Potential roles of an online self-management website in self-empowerment, behavior change, self-management and health care delivery; 4) Importance of a patient-centered perspective in presenting content (e.g. common assumptions, medical nomenclature, language, messaging, sociocultural context); 5) Barriers and facilitators to use of a self-management website (including perceived relevance of content, incorporation into usual routine, availability for goal-directed use, usability issues).
Participants outlined a series of unmet health care needs, and stated that they wanted timely access to tailored knowledge about their condition, mechanisms to control and track their disease, and opportunities to share experiences with other patients. These findings have implications for patients with type 2 diabetes of diverse ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and disease severity, as well as to the design of other computer-based resources for chronic disease management.
PMCID: PMC4222757  PMID: 25056379
Diabetes mellitus; Self-efficacy; Intervention development; User-Computer Interface; Qualitative methods
3.  Designing and evaluating a web-based self-management site for patients with type 2 diabetes - systematic website development and study protocol 
Given that patients provide the majority of their own diabetes care, patient self-management training has increasingly become recognized as an important strategy with which to improve quality of care. However, participation in self management programs is low. In addition, the efficacy of current behavioural interventions wanes over time, reducing the impact of self-management interventions on patient health. Web-based interventions have the potential to bridge the gaps in diabetes care and self-management.
Our objective is to improve self-efficacy, quality of life, self-care, blood pressure, cholesterol and glycemic control and promote exercise in people with type 2 diabetes through the rigorous development and use of a web-based patient self-management intervention. This study consists of five phases: (1) intervention development; (2) feasibility testing; (3) usability testing; (4) intervention refinement; and (5) intervention evaluation using mixed methods. We will employ evidence-based strategies and tools, using a theoretical framework of self-efficacy, then elicit user feedback through focus groups and individual user testing sessions. Using iterative redesign the intervention will be refined. Once finalized, the impact of the website on patient self-efficacy, quality of life, self-care, HbA1c, LDL-cholesterol, blood pressure and weight will be assessed through a non-randomized observational cohort study using repeated measures modeling and individual interviews.
Increasing use of the World Wide Web by consumers for health information and ongoing revolutions in social media are strong indicators that users are primed to welcome a new era of technology in health care. However, their full potential is hindered by limited knowledge regarding their effectiveness, poor usability, and high attrition rates. Our development and research agenda aims to address these limitations by improving usability, identifying characteristics associated with website use and attrition, and developing strategies to sustain patient use in order to maximize clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3473319  PMID: 22726578
Diabetes mellitus; Self care; Patient education; Self-efficacy; Medical informatics; Intervention development; Study protocol; User-Computer Interface; Repeated measures modeling; Qualitative methods
4.  Development of a prototype clinical decision support tool for osteoporosis disease management: a qualitative study of focus groups 
Osteoporosis affects over 200 million people worldwide, and represents a significant cost burden. Although guidelines are available for best practice in osteoporosis, evidence indicates that patients are not receiving appropriate diagnostic testing or treatment according to guidelines. The use of clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) may be one solution because they can facilitate knowledge translation by providing high-quality evidence at the point of care. Findings from a systematic review of osteoporosis interventions and consultation with clinical and human factors engineering experts were used to develop a conceptual model of an osteoporosis tool. We conducted a qualitative study of focus groups to better understand physicians' perceptions of CDSSs and to transform the conceptual osteoporosis tool into a functional prototype that can support clinical decision making in osteoporosis disease management at the point of care.
The conceptual design of the osteoporosis tool was tested in 4 progressive focus groups with family physicians and general internists. An iterative strategy was used to qualitatively explore the experiences of physicians with CDSSs; and to find out what features, functions, and evidence should be included in a working prototype. Focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide using an iterative process where results of the first focus group informed changes to the questions for subsequent focus groups and to the conceptual tool design. Transcripts were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using grounded theory methodology.
Of the 3 broad categories of themes that were identified, major barriers related to the accuracy and feasibility of extracting bone mineral density test results and medications from the risk assessment questionnaire; using an electronic input device such as a Tablet PC in the waiting room; and the importance of including well-balanced information in the patient education component of the osteoporosis tool. Suggestions for modifying the tool included the addition of a percentile graph showing patients' 10-year risk for osteoporosis or fractures, and ensuring that the tool takes no more than 5 minutes to complete.
Focus group data revealed the facilitators and barriers to using the osteoporosis tool at the point of care so that it can be optimized to aid physicians in their clinical decision making.
PMCID: PMC2914714  PMID: 20650007
5.  Group differences in physician responses to handheld presentation of clinical evidence: a verbal protocol analysis 
To identify individual differences in physicians' needs for the presentation of evidence resources and preferences for mobile devices.
Within-groups analysis of responses to semi-structured interviews. Interviews consisted of using prototypes in response to task-based scenarios. The prototypes were implemented on two different form factors: a tablet style PC and a pocketPC. Participants were from three user groups: general internists, family physicians and medicine residents, and from two different settings: urban and semi-urban. Verbal protocol analysis, which consists of coding utterances, was conducted on the transcripts of the testing sessions. Statistical relationships were investigated between staff physicians' and residents' background variables, self-reported experiences with the interfaces, and verbal code frequencies.
47 physicians were recruited from general internal medicine, family practice clinics and a residency training program. The mean age of participants was 42.6 years. Physician specialty had a greater effect on device and information-presentation preferences than gender, age, setting or previous technical experience. Family physicians preferred the screen size of the tablet computer and were less concerned about its portability. Residents liked the screen size of the tablet, but preferred the portability of the pocketPC. Internists liked the portability of the pocketPC, but saw less advantage to the large screen of the tablet computer (F[2,44] = 4.94, p = .012).
Different types of physicians have different needs and preferences for evidence-based resources and handheld devices. This study shows how user testing can be incorporated into the process of design to inform group-based customization.
PMCID: PMC1976086  PMID: 17655759
6.  Evidence for handheld electronic medical records in improving care: a systematic review 
Handheld electronic medical records are expected to improve physician performance and patient care. To confirm this, we performed a systematic review of the evidence assessing the effects of handheld electronic medical records on clinical care.
To conduct the systematic review, we searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane library from 1966 through September 2005. We included randomized controlled trials that evaluated effects on practitioner performance or patient outcomes of handheld electronic medical records compared to either paper medical records or desktop electronic medical records. Two reviewers independently reviewed citations, assessed full text articles and abstracted data from the studies.
Two studies met our inclusion criteria. No other randomized controlled studies or non-randomized controlled trials were found that met our inclusion criteria. Both studies were methodologically strong. The studies examined changes in documentation in orthopedic patients with handheld electronic medical records compared to paper charts, and both found an increase in documentation. Other effects noted with handheld electronic medical records were an increase in time to document and an increase in wrong or redundant diagnoses.
Handheld electronic medical records may improve documentation, but as yet, the number of studies is small and the data is restricted to one group of patients and a small group of practitioners. Further study is required to determine the benefits with handheld electronic medical records especially in assessing clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC1538581  PMID: 16787539

Results 1-6 (6)