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J Biomed Inform. 2014 Feb;47:11-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2013.10.004. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

Pre-launch evaluation checklist for online health-promoting communities.

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  • 1Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden. Electronic address:
  • 2Analytic Services Inc., Arlington, VA, USA. Electronic address:
  • 3Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden; Centre for Public Health Sciences, Linköping, Sweden. Electronic address:



Despite the apparent potential of online health-promoting communities (OHPC), there is limited guidance available for developers on the basic design features that contribute to successful applications. The aim of this study was to develop a checklist for a pre-launch evaluation of OHPCs incorporating the perspectives of both the user and the health services communities.


The study was based on an action research design. Constructs previously applied to evaluate information system success were used as the basis for checklist development. The constructs were adapted for the OHPC context and formatively evaluated in a case study project. Evaluation data were collected from participatory observations and analyzed using qualitative methods.


The initial OHPC checklist included the constructs information quality, service quality, and subjective norms. The contextual adaptation of the information quality construct resulted in items for content area, trust, and format; the adaptation of the service quality construct in items for staff competence, prompt service and empathy; and the adaptation of the subject norms construct in items for social facilitation, interconnectivity and communication. The formative evaluation demonstrated the critical need to balance the autonomy of the online community with the professional control of health services quality expressed in the information and service quality constructs.


A pre-launch OHPC evaluation checklist has been designed for use in practical development of health promotion web resources. Research on instruments for OHPC evaluations is warranted.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Adolescents; Community-based participatory research; Health promotion; Health service

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