Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of an Internet-based patient education intervention, which was designed upon principles of personalization and participatory design. Methods: Fifteen months after the first release of the website, 209 fibromyalgia patients recruited through health professionals completed an online questionnaire to assess patients' use of the website, health knowledge, self-management behavior, and health outcomes. These constructs were combined into an a-priory model that was tested using a structural equation modeling approach. Results: Results show that the usage of certain tools of the website - designed and personalized involving the end users - impacts patients' health knowledge, which in turn impacts self-management. Improvements in self-management ultimately lower the impact of Fibromyalgia Syndrome leading to better health outcomes. Conclusion: This study empirically confirmed that the adoption of a participatory approach to the design of eHealth interventions and the use of personalized contents enhance the overall effectiveness of systems. Practice implications: More time and effort should be invested in involving patients in the preliminary phases of the development of Internet-based patient education interventions and in the definition of models that can guide the systems' evaluation beyond technology-related variables such as usability, accessibility or adoption.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We wish to thank the Swiss National Science Foundation ( NRP 53 ) for the financial support of this study, as well as the Lega Ticinese per la Lotta Contro il Reumatismo that has enabled its feasibility. We also thank Marco Boneschi and Michele Giacobazzi for their help in the implementation and maintenance of the ONESELF website.
- Fibromyalgia Syndrome
- Patient education
- Theory-driven evaluation