Using health communication best practices to develop a web-based provider-patient communication aid: the CONNECT study

Patient Educ Couns. 2008 Jun;71(3):378-87. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.02.017. Epub 2008 Apr 15.


Objective: Although there is broad consensus that careful content vetting and user testing is important in the development of technology-based educational interventions, often these steps are overlooked. This paper highlights the development of a theory-guided, web-based communication aid (CONNECT), designed to facilitate treatment decision-making among patients with advanced cancer.

Methods: The communication aid included an on-line survey, patient skills training module and an automated physician report. Development steps included: (1) evidence-based content development; (2) usability testing; (3) pilot testing; and (4) patient utilization and satisfaction.

Results: Usability testing identified some confusing directions and navigation for the on-line survey and validated the relevance of the "patient testimonials" in the skills module. Preliminary satisfaction from the implementation of the communication aid showed that 66% found the survey length reasonable and 70% found it helpful in talking with the physician. Seventy percent reported the skills module helpful and about half found it affected the consultation.

Conclusion: Designing patient education interventions for translation into practice requires the integration of health communication best practice including user feedback along the developmental process.

Practice implications: This developmental process can be translated to a broad array of community-based patient and provider educational interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Computers
  • Benchmarking / organization & administration
  • Communication*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires