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Information 2018, 9(8), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/info9080199

Enhancing Online Patient Support through Health-Care Knowledge in Online Health Communities: A Descriptive Study

1
Department of Information Management, School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing 100044, China
2
Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6UD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 4 August 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Information Systems)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1756 KB, uploaded 6 August 2018]   |  

Abstract

Online health communities (OHCs) should utilize health-care knowledge for enhancing online patient support. To examine the use of existing OHCs to identify the challenges and strategies of enhancing online patients’ decision-making support, we conducted a descriptive study to evaluate the information availability, user availability and knowledge usability in 100 carefully-selected health-related websites. On the basis of criteria for effective OHCs, we used three evaluation instruments for health-care professionals to review and score the websites. Questionnaire results were examined from the perspective of information, user and knowledge support. Results corroborate that over 80% of the websites facilitate effective social functions, whereas only 33% provide health-care decision-making services to online patients. Approximately 46% of them satisfy four or five effective OHCs’ criteria. Three of them only offer the functions of patients’ charts and journals to support health data management. Although the existing OHCs are facilitated with good social interaction and support, only a few can assist patients in making effective health-care decisions, not to mention properly using health-care knowledge support. View Full-Text
Keywords: health-care knowledge; online health communities; online patient support; evaluation instrument; descriptive study health-care knowledge; online health communities; online patient support; evaluation instrument; descriptive study
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Chen, D.; Zhang, R.; Liu, K.; Hou, L. Enhancing Online Patient Support through Health-Care Knowledge in Online Health Communities: A Descriptive Study. Information 2018, 9, 199.

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