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A systematic review of web-based educational interventions

Citation: 
CITATION: Fredericks S, Martorella G, Catallo C. A systematic review of web-based educational interventions. Clin Nurs Res. 2015 Feb;24(1):91-113. doi: 10.1177/1054773814522829. Epub 2014 Feb 26.
Abstract / Summary: 
A complement to in-hospital educational interventions is web-based patient education accessed during the home recovery period. While findings demonstrate the effectiveness of web-based patient education interventions on patient outcomes, they fall short of identifying the characteristics that are associated with desired outcomes. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the characteristics of web-based patient education interventions that are associated with producing changes in self-care behaviors. A systematic review involving 19 studies was conducted to determine the most effective components of a web-based intervention. Findings suggest that the most effective form of web-based patient education is one that is interactive and allows patients to navigate the online system on their own. The findings from this systematic review allow for the design of a web-based educational intervention that will promote increased performance of self-care behaviors during the home recovery period.
Healthcare: 
Users of healthcare information: 
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Selected extracts: 
Generally, the control group received a structured educational brochure, while most of the interventions comprised 'a structured web-based patient education  intervention that consisted of pre-designed screens. This type of web-based education required the study participant to review each screen, in sequential order, prior to moving to the next educational screen. The content areas addressed throughout the structured web-based education were similar to those presented in the education brochure received by the control group study participants. ... more than half (60%) of the websites contained information related to additional resources and references, 40% provided their study participants with access to an ask an expert chat forum, 30% created online discussion groups, and approximately 10% had an online skills workshop that could be accessed upon review of the education'.

'A statistically significant difference [in self care behaviour] between individuals who received the web-based intervention and those who received standard patient education (i.e., structured educational brochure) in terms of number of self-care behaviors performed during post-discharge recovery is noted' [see full paper for details, which vary according to study]

The findings suggest: 'using an individualized web-based patient education intervention may be more effective than a booklet or standardized patient education website' and 'the most effective form of web-based patient education is one that is interactive and allows patients to navigate the online system on their own'.

Comment from HIFA moderator: "Perhaps the most important conclusion (which is captured in the Abstract) is that 'the most effective form of web-based patient education is one that is interactive and allows patients to navigate the online system on their own'. This suggests that the way in which content is developed and presented is critical. As we have discussed before on HIFA, the challenge of the coming decade is likely to shift from access to content. The development of reliable, appropriate and effective content (where possible open-access) and helping people to find it will be key to the realisation of healthcare information for all. It's vital that global health funders recognise this and support it accordingly, both to sieze the opportunity and to mitigate the negative impact of commercial advertising (big pharma already spends 373 million US dollars per year worldwide on mobile phone advertising)."

Formal literature type: 
Journal title: 
Publisher: 
Author(s): 

Fredericks S, Martorella G, Catallo C.

Year published: 
2015
Month published: 
February