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The Acceptance, Usability, and Utility of a Web Portal for Back Pain as Recommended by Primary Care Physicians: Qualitative Interview Study With Patients

HumanInsight The Acceptance, Usability, and Utility of a Web Portal for Back Pain as Recommended by Primary Care Physicians: Qualitative Interview Study With Patients

JMIR Form Res. 2022 Dec 29;6(12):e38748. doi: 10.2196/38748.


BACKGROUND: An ever-increasing number of patients seek health information via the internet. However, there is an overabundance of differing, often low-quality information available, while a lack of health literacy makes it difficult for patients to understand and assess the quality and trustworthiness of the information at hand. The web portal tala-med was thus conceived as an evidence-based, up-to-date, and trustworthy information resource for lower back pain (LBP), which could be used by primary care physicians (PCPs) and patients during and following consultations for LBP. The current evidence demonstrates that patients with LBP could benefit from web portals. However, the use of such portals by patients remains low, thus limiting their effectiveness. Therefore, it is important to explore the factors that promote or hinder the use of web portals and investigate how patients perceive their usability and utility.

OBJECTIVE: In this study, we investigated the acceptance, usability, and utility of the web portal tala-med from the patient perspective.

METHODS: This qualitative study was based on telephone interviews with patients who had access to the web portal tala-med from their PCP. We used a semistructured interview guide that consisted of questions about the consultation in which patients were introduced to tala-med, in addition to questions regarding patient perceptions, experiences, and utilization of tala-med. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed through framework analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 32 half-hour interviews were conducted with 16 female and 16 male patients with LBP. We identified 5 themes of interest: the use of tala-med by PCPs during the consultation, the use of tala-med by patients, its usability, added values derived from its use, and the resultant effects of using tala-med. PCPs used tala-med as an additional information resource for their patients and recommended the exercises. The patients appreciated these exercises and were willing to use tala-med at home. We also identified factors that promoted or hindered the use of tala-med by patients. Most patients rated tala-med positively and considered it a clear, comprehensible, trustworthy, and practical resource. In particular, the trustworthiness of tala-med was seen as an advantage over other information resources. The possibilities offered by tala-med to recap and reflect on the contents of consultations in a time-flexible and independent manner was perceived as an added value to the PCP consultation.

CONCLUSIONS: Tala-med was well accepted by patients and appeared to be well suited to being used as an add-on to PCP consultations. Patient perception also supports its usability and utility. Tala-med may therefore enrich consultations and assist patients who would otherwise be unable to find good-quality web-based health information on LBP. In addition, our findings support the future development of digital health platforms and their successful use as a supplement to PCP consultations.


PMID:36580365 | DOI:10.2196/38748

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