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Keywords:

  • nursing;
  • service user involvement;
  • severe mental health problems;
  • usability evaluation;
  • web-based patient information system

kuosmanen L., Jakobsson T., hyttinen J., koivunen M. & välimäki M. (2010) Usability evaluation of a web-based patient information system for individuals with severe mental health problems. Journal of Advanced Nursing.66(12), 2701–2710.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to compare service users’, nursing students’ and Registered Nurses’ evaluations of the usability of a patient education website intended for individuals with severe mental health problems.

Background.  There is an obvious need for reliable mental health information on the Internet. When evaluating the usability of Internet-based patient education methods, the opinions of all parties need to be ascertained.

Methods.  An explorative descriptive design was used. Twenty-one service users, 20 nursing students and 35 Registered Nurses were recruited for the study in 2003 and 2004. Data were collected using a self-developed questionnaire on the content, structure and visual appearance of the website.

Results.  Service users had positive attitudes towards computer and Internet use but they needed support when using the computer and Internet. According to the evaluations, the content, structure and visual appearance of the website were good and it could be adopted for clinical practise after minor revisions. There were some differences in the evaluations between participant groups. Nurses were the most critical group, and the service user group was the most satisfied, although they were less experienced with using both computers and the Internet.

Conclusion.  It is especially important to include service users’ evaluations at the early stages of the development process of Web-based patient education systems. It is possible to produce an information technology-based patient education system for individuals with severe mental health problems. Nurses working in psychiatric services need to pay more attention to supporting service users in computer and Internet use.