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Int J STD AIDS. 2007 Jul;18(7):440-5.

Optimizing information technology to improve sexual health-care delivery: public and patient preferences.

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Whittall Street Clinic, Birmingham, UK.


Information and communication technology (ICT) has the potential to improve the quality of care and efficiency in sexual health clinics, but its introduction requires input not only from health-care professionals and ICT specialists but also from service users and potential future users. In this study, views on ICT in relation to the delivery of sexual health services were assessed using a structured interview in two groups - a community sample of young people and a clinic sample of existing patients. In all, 542 community interviewees and 202 clinic patients participated. About 75% of respondents had access to the Internet and overall 60% reported that the self-collection of a sexual history on an electronic form was acceptable. Black Caribbean individuals had significantly less access to the Internet and a lower acceptance of electronic data collection. For booking an appointment, the majority of patients reported the telephone (community sample 93%, clinic sample 96%) or attending in person (community sample 77%, clinic sample 54%) to be acceptable, with a smaller proportion choosing email (community sample 10%, clinic sample 27%) or the Internet (community sample 7%, clinic sample 11%). Electronic booking was significantly less acceptable to Black Caribbean respondents. Although new technologies offer the opportunity to improve the quality of sexual health services, patient preferences and differences between groups in access to technology also need to be considered when services are reconfigured.

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