Effects of functional interactivity on patients' knowledge, empowerment, and health outcomes: An experimental model-driven evaluation of a web-based intervention

Luca Camerini, Peter Johannes Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The effectiveness of eHealth interventions in terms of reach and outcomes is now well documented. However, there is a need to understand not only whether eHealth interventions work, but also what kind of functions and mechanisms enhance their effectiveness. The present investigation contributes to tackling these challenges by investigating the role played by functional interactivity on patients' knowledge, empowerment, and health outcomes. Objectives: To test whether health knowledge and empowerment mediate a possible relationship between the availability of interactive features on an eHealth application and individuals' health outcomes. We present an empirical, model-driven evaluation of the effects of functional interactivity implemented in an eHealth application, based on a brief theoretical review of the constructs of interactivity, health knowledge, empowerment, and health outcomes. We merged these constructs into a theoretical model of interactivity effects that we tested on an eHealth application for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Methods: This study used a pretest-posttest experimental design. We recruited 165 patients and randomly assigned them to three study groups, corresponding to different levels of functional interactivity. Eligibility to participate in the study required that patients (1) be fluent in Italian, (2) have access to the Internet, (3) report confidence in how to use a computer, and (4) have received a diagnosis of FMS from a doctor. We used structural equation modeling techniques to analyze changes between the pretest and the posttest results. Results: The main finding was that functional interactivity had no impact on empowerment dimensions, nor direct observable effects on knowledge. However, knowledge positively affected health outcomes (b = -.12, P = .02), as did the empowerment dimensions of meaning (b = -.49, P < .001) and impact (b = -.25, P < .001). Conclusion: The theoretical model was partially confirmed, but only as far as the effects of knowledge and empowerment were concerned. The differential effect of interactive functions was by far weaker than expected. The strong impact of knowledge and empowerment on health outcomes suggests that these constructs should be targeted and enhanced by eHealth applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e105
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Health literacy
  • Interactivity
  • Internet intervention
  • Patient empowerment

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of functional interactivity on patients' knowledge, empowerment, and health outcomes: An experimental model-driven evaluation of a web-based intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this