242020 NCCAM's Health Care Provider Portal: A Two-Pronged Approach to Evaluating an Online Health Education Program

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:06 AM

Shawn Stout , National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Background: Approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Based on the prevalence of use, it is important for health care providers (HCPs) to have access to unbiased, evidence-based information to advise their patients who are using or considering CAM and ensure safe, coordinated care. In response to this need, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at NIH created a portal on its Website designed specifically to serve the information needs of HCPs. Objective: To evaluate through formative research whether the portal adequately supports the activities of the Center and sufficiently meets the needs of HCPs. Methods: In the first evaluation phase, 29 HCPs participated in four online focus groups. Revisions to the portal were implemented based on outcomes from these groups. In the second phase, 9 HCPs participated in online usability testing to assess functionality and navigation. Results: In both evaluation phases, participants' reactions to the portal were favorable; most reported they have few credible sources of information on CAM and would likely use the portal regularly. Areas of improvement included lack of conspicuous site entry for HCPs and the need for a more graphically-enhanced design. Conclusions: Online focus groups are useful for understanding the health information needs and interests of HCPs. Online usability testing is valuable for evaluating the format and navigation of the Website. The two-pronged strategy is a successful approach to identify the information needs of a specific target audience when developing an online health education program.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify two approaches to evaluate the health information needs of a specific audience. 2. Describe how evaluating an audience’s information needs can positively affect your health education program.

Keywords: Health Education, Health Information

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee a health communications program to educate health care providers about scientific research related to complementary and alternative medicine.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.