Web Geekery In Recent Literature – 1/23/2007

Items that have recently caught my attention:

Of particular note for nephrologists and those who support them.

  • Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2008 Jan;15(1):73-82.
    The internet as a tool for the renal community.
    Buettner K, Fadem SZ .

    American Association of Kidney Patients, Tampa, FL, USA.

    The Internet has impacted health care. With the introduction of the personal health record (PHR), patients have an opportunity to track their physician visits, medications, and laboratory values online in a pleasant and informative learning environment. The PHR is a secure, online, Internet-accessible method of storing and easily retrieving health information about one’s medical history, physician visits, laboratory values, and medications. The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) has taken the leadership role in developing a PHR for patients of the kidney community. There are several barriers that patients experience when using the Web for health resources. These include inaccurate or self-serving information and marketing statements that can be misleading and dangerous. Poorly written or inappropriate information for patients can be problematic, as can an abundance of extraneous information. For the most part, the public often has no way to judge what is and is not credible based on the context of the article alone. This article gives the reader a review of several Web resources that are available for patients and also for renal professionals. They are largely from large nonprofit organizations like the AAKP, National Kidney Foundation, Medical Education Institute, American Society of Nephrology, or The Nephron Information Center (nephron.com). This article also reviews sites from The National Kidney Disease Education Program, Hypertension-Dialysis and Clinical Nephrology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and DaVita.

    PMID: 18155112

  • Hip the OBs whose information needs you serve to this item:

  • J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2008 Jan;30(1):38-43.
    Access to web-based personalized antenatal health records for pregnant women: a randomized controlled trial.
    Shaw E, Howard M, Chan D, Waters H, Kaczorowski J, Price D, Zazulak J.

    Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton ON.

    Objective: During pregnancy, the information needs of patients are high and effective information sharing between patients and health care providers is of particular importance. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of providing pregnant women with secure access to their antenatal health records on their uptake of, and satisfaction with, relevant information. Methods: Women presenting to a primary care maternity centre before 28 weeks’ gestation were randomized to receive access either to a secure website with links to general pregnancy health information alone (GI group) or to the same website with access to their own antenatal health record (PI group). Primary outcomes included frequency of use, and satisfaction with and perceived usefulness of the web-based information. Results: We approached 199 women regarding participation in the study; 193 agreed to participate, and 97 were randomized to the PI group and 96 to the GI group. The mean number of log-ins to the website in the PI group subsequently was almost six times the number of log-ins in the GI group (10.4 +/- 17.8 vs. 1.8 +/- 1.4; P < 0.001), and 84.2% of log-ins in the PI group accessed the antenatal health record. The responses of participants to questions about the website's ease of use and value in providing information about pregnancy indicated a high level of satisfaction, with no significant difference in responses between groups. Conclusion: Pregnant patients are prepared to use a health information website and web-based health records. When personal information is provided there is greater use than when general pregnancy information alone is provided. Given the almost universal availability of the Internet, this option has the potential for wider application to patient-related outcomes. PMID: 18198066

  • Impact of Web Searching and Social Feedback on Consumer Decision Making: A Prospective Online Experiment

    Annie YS Lau, PhD; Enrico W Coiera, MB, BS, PhD

    Centre for Health Informatics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    Corresponding Author:
    Enrico W Coiera, MB, BS, PhD

    Centre for Health Informatics
    University of New South Wales
    Sydney, NSW 2052

    ABSTRACT
    Background: The World Wide Web has increasingly become an important source of information in health care consumer decision making. However, little is known about whether searching online resources actually improves consumers’ understanding of health issues.
    Objectives: The aim was to study whether searching on the World Wide Web improves consumers’ accuracy in answering health questions and whether consumers’ understanding of health issues is subject to further change under social feedback.
    Methods: This was a pre/post prospective online study. A convenience sample of 227 undergraduate students was recruited from the population of the University of New South Wales. Subjects used a search engine that retrieved online documents from PubMed, MedlinePlus, and HealthInsite and answered a set of six questions (before and after use of the search engine) designed for health care consumers. They were then presented with feedback consisting of a summary of the post-search answers provided by previous subjects for the same questions and were asked to answer the questions again.
    Results: There was an improvement in the percentage of correct answers after searching (pre-search 61.2% vs post-search 82.0%, P < .001) and after feedback with other subjects’ answers (pre-feedback 82.0% vs post-feedback 85.3%, P =.051).The proportion of subjects with highly confident correct answers (ie, confident or very confident) and the proportion with highly confident incorrect answers significantly increased after searching (correct pre-search 61.6% vs correct post-search 95.5%, P <.001; incorrect pre-search 55.3% vs incorrect post-search 82.0%, P <.001). Subjects who were not as confident in their post-search answers were 28.5% more likely than those who were confident or very confident to change their answer after feedback with other subjects’ post-search answers (χ21= 66.65, P <.001). Conclusions: Searching across quality health information sources on the Web can improve consumers’ accuracy in answering health questions. However, a consumer’s confidence in an answer is not a good indicator of the answer being correct. Consumers who are not confident in their answers after searching are more likely to be influenced to change their views when provided with feedback from other consumers. (J Med Internet Res 2008;10(1):e2) doi:10.2196/jmir.963

  • Let’s just repeat that last bit again, breaking into its three component parts:

    (1)Searching across quality health information sources on the Web can improve consumers’ accuracy in answering health questions. (2)However, a consumer’s confidence in an answer is not a good indicator of the answer being correct. (3)Consumers who are not confident in their answers after searching are more likely to be influenced to change their views when provided with feedback from other consumers.

    How’s that for a mixed message?

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