An evaluation of a voluntary academic medical center website designed to improve access to health education among consumers: Implications for e-health and m-health
Nicole Rosella Harris-Hollingsworth, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States
Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded
Academic Medical Centers across the United States provide health libraries on their web portals to disseminate health promotion and disease prevention information, in order to assist patients in the management of their own care. However, there is a need to obtain consumer input, consumer satisfaction, and to conduct formal evaluations. The purpose of this study was to permit a convenience sample of adults to evaluate an online health library of a major Academic Medical Center located in the Northeast of the United States. Using a sample (n=192) of mostly women (72.9%) and African Americans (58%; White 24.5%; Hispanic 12%)—as well as highly educated (e.g. 31.8% having master's degrees) subjects, this study extended a tradition of evaluating websites that began with a new tool developed in 2007 by the Research Group on Disparities in Health at Teachers College, Columbia University. In this manner, the present study builds on a body of contemporary research exploring both the diffusion of the innovation of (1) websites disseminating health education, and (2) researchers having browsers rate and evaluate those websites. By specifically evaluating an online health library via a yet more comprehensive package of tools, and by incorporating important innovations in online website evaluation protocol, the present study makes an important contribution. More specifically, the study contributed findings that the health library was given a favorable rating—as assessed comprehensively from the perspective of three different measures for website ratings. A model accounting for the largest proportion of the variance at 33.7% suggested that high website ratings were predicted by subjects (1) being African American, (2) having higher website attitudes and beliefs score for how they rated as important specific website features, and (3) spending a greater amount of time browsing and exploring the online health library. Results suggest that the health library holds the potential to help close gaps in health, or address health disparities, to the extent that African Americans were engaged in browsing the health library with satisfaction. Future research should explore variables that might account for a greater proportion of the variance in explaining high website ratings.
Harris-Hollingsworth, N.R. An evaluation of a voluntary academic medical center website designed to improve access to health education among consumers: Implications for e-health and m-health. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University.
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