Development and assessment of a World Wide Web site for systemic lupus erythematosus patient information

Lupus. 2002;11(8):478-84. doi: 10.1191/0961203302lu225oa.


Patient education is an important component of the management of chronic diseases such as SLE. We have investigated the value of the World Wide Web as a medium for delivery of SLE patient information. Volunteers recruited from the clinic and from the website completed interviews and questionnaires aimed at defining their information needs. A new website was then established and its impact on users tested using knowledge questionnaires. The new website was used extensively (20-30 users each day) over the 24 month period of study until April 2001. A total of 510 participants completed an online questionnaire that showed that for some users it was their first use of the internet to gather lupus information, but the majority (58.9%) accessed it at least monthly for this purpose. We also found that, while most users (56.9%) found current disease information was at an appropriate level, 37.5% thought it was too basic. Knowledge questionnaires from 42 participants before and after using the site showed a significant rise in users' knowledge of the areas covered by the site. As far as we are aware this study is the first to show that a patient-oriented website can have a positive effect on disease knowledge. The relative ease with which good quality information can be disseminated via the web suggests that this medium is likely to be less costly and perhaps more educationally effective than printed information, and so is likely to become a primary vehicle for patient education. The website tested can be found at:

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Internet*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Program Development