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Patient Educ Couns. 2004 Aug;54(2):187-95.

Using information technology for patient education: realizing surplus value?

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Department of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, L-building, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Computer-based patient information systems are introduced to replace traditional forms of patient education like brochures, leaflets, videotapes and, to a certain extent, face-to-face communication. In this paper, we claim that though computer-based patient information systems potentially have many advantages compared to traditional means, the surplus value of these systems is much harder to realize than often expected. By reporting on two computer-based patient information systems, both found to be unsuccessful, we will show that building computer-based patient information systems for patient education requires a thorough analysis of the advantages and limitations of IT compared to traditional forms of patient education. When this condition is fulfilled, however, these systems have the potential to improve health status and to be a valuable supplement to (rather than a substitute for) traditional means of patient education.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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