Requirements analysis of information services for patients on a general practitioner's website—patient and general practitioner's perspectives

A H Prins, A Abu-Hanna
Methods of Information in Medicine 2007, 46 (6): 629-35

OBJECTIVE: To elicit and analyze information needs of patients and primary care physicians (GPs) regarding the information services (static and functional) that a GP's practice website should provide.

METHODS: To find candidate information services, we conducted a literature search and examined primary care physicians' websites, especially Dutch websites. Semi-structured depth interviews with the stakeholders, Dutch patients and GPs, were done to arrive at a final checklist. We then conducted a survey to elicit the level of importance associated with each service on the checklist. The data underwent statistical analysis and relevant requirements were formulated. The requirements were then validated by interviews. General website quality and usability aspects were elicited from the literature.

RESULTS: The research resulted in a checklist of 38 selected information services including their priority ratings for patients and GPs; a discrepancy list between GP and patient priorities; and a requirements document containing information services (14 static and 6 functional), and general quality and usability aspects (8 and 5).

CONCLUSION: The following items occurred in the top 10 of both user groups: general practice information, information of local public health institutions, self-help information, repeat prescription, links to health web sites. At the bottom on both priority lists were: links to journals, tests and forums. Dutch GPs are much more selective in terms of which information services to provide on-line. Discrepancy between the two groups concerns on-line services that seem to require a change to the GP's workflow, or those services that are not recognized for reimbursing the GP. Although the Dutch patients' requirements seem to generalize to other patients, the conflict list might depend on the primary care system.

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