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Chronic Illn. 2005 Jun;1(2):143-55.

Harnessing the potential of the internet to promote chronic illness self-management: diabetes as an example of how well we are doing.

Author information

1
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Colorado Health Outcomes, PO Box 6508, MS F443, Aurora, CO 80045-0508, USA. sheana.bull@uchsc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Given the potential for the Internet to be used as a dynamic, interactive medium for providing information, changing attitudes and behaviour and enhancing social support, it is important to consider whether what is currently available online for chronic illness self-management adequately harnesses this potential. The objective of this paper was to review the content of diabetes self-management websites and to identify strengths and limitations of online diabetes self-management.

METHODS:

We reviewed and coded features of 87 publicly available diabetes websites hosted by governmental, health plan, commercial, pharmaceutical, and not-for-profit organizations. We assessed whether each website was using online opportunities in the areas of interactivity, theory-based interventions, social support, and evidence-based care.

RESULTS:

The majority of sites provided information, essentially using an electronic newspaper or pamphlet format. Few sites offered interactive assessments, social support or problem-solving assistance, although there were some significant differences in these characteristics across the types of site.

DISCUSSION:

Current diabetes websites fall short of their potential to help consumers. Suggestions are made for ways to improve the helpfulness and interactivity of these resources.

PMID:
17136920
DOI:
10.1177/17423953050010021101
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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