Purpose.Information plays an important role in the management and treatment of chronic pain conditions. Often, however, delivered information does not address specific difficulties of consumers. The present study illustrates the design and implementation of the website ONESELF run by the Institute of Communication and Health of the University of Lugano which has been created to meet the ranging of informational needs of chronic low back pain sufferers. Method.ONESELF rests on an integrated idea of health literacy that highlights the kind of information consumers need to inform their decisions about back pain. This idea has been tested through a qualitative analysis of requests posted by users in the forum of ONESELF between July 2006 and December 2007. Results.Users seek information to build their declarative (factual) and procedural knowledge, as well as to evaluate that knowledge and apply it to the context of their own life. Conclusion.Online interactional tools such as ONESELF are a promising source of health communication, provided that the content manager of the website and the health professionals collaborate in a rigorously structured manner. ONESELF can benefit traditional medical consultations in helping screen requests from patients that do not need to see a doctor, and in acting as a repository of background information that saves consultation time for more urgent matters.
- Back pain
- Consumer health information