- Using a Website for Patient
There are many advantages to having a website available
to patients at any time to access information and resources (Table 1). A
website may function as an ideal adjunct for patient and physician education.
With the growing need to provide more patient education but with less time
and resources to do so, a website is an obvious resource that a physician
can utilize to supplement the patient education already started in the
office setting. It may be a useful means of helping the busy primary care
practitioner provide patient education for depression and aid in follow-up.
A website may also help to overcome obstacles and the stigma of depression
by allowing visitors to utilize the resources in the privacy of their own
of Using a Website for Patient Web-Education
|1. A website is accessible
at any time, day or night.
2. A website can be accessed from home, when
a person is receptive.
3. Information can be updated immediately.
4. There is an abundance of patient education
materials available on the Internet.
5. The Internet levels the playing field making
the same information accessible to anyone with access to a computer.
6. A website can be accessed by patients to clarify,
augment or reinforce information presented in an office visit.
7. A website can be experienced in a variety
of ways--through colors, sounds, and images in addition to reading content
on the site.
8. Via Internet connectivity, websites can reach
those in rural communities and under-served areas, or facilities with limited
consultants and libraries, to provide them with access to the most current
on-line resources, journals and textbooks.
9. With no state, national or international boundaries
on the Internet, this allows for connecting patients and practitioners
who have similar experiences, are dealing with rare diseases, or have expertise
in a particular area, throughout the world to share medical information
A website can also serves as an ideal communication
tool for those with a variety of limitations (Table 2) and a way to potentially
reach those home-bound for a variety of reasons. Journey of Hearts was
created for those who for a variety of reasons may find themselves homebound
and unable to utilize other resources.
Website: A Communication Tool for those with Limitations
Physical - wheelchairs, bed confinement,
Situational - environment (natural disasters),
rural communities, transportation limitations
Primary Caregiver for Family member - child
Phobias - social, environmental, fear of crowds,
Psychiatric - panic, anxiety attacks, depression
Emotional - depressed, distraught, grief-stricken
Financial - free access to information on
the Internet, allows for those without the resources to see a counselor
to find some self-help resources and information on-line
The Internet Availability 24/7/365
One of the great advantages that the Internet
has over conventional forms of grief treatment--involving scheduled face-to-face
appointments or group meetings--it that it is always available as a resource
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As a colleague described
This web site is a good resource because it is
available anytime day or night, whenever the need for support arises especially
when your friends go on with their busy lives and you haven't fulfilled
your need to grieve.
Intuitively we believed that the site would be most
helpful for people in the middle of the night, struggling with insomnia,
unable to find a supportive friend or therapist and still need to grieve.
Journey of Hearts was created to serve as a "Virtual Shoulder to
Cry on" or "Virtual Hand Holding," to help visitors find a place of support
and something to do during the night.
Patricia J. Paternoster, R.N.
Our statistics of users to the Journey of Hearts
site confirm that many of our visitors are utilizing the site late at night
or early in the mornings--times when people are inclined to be unable to
sleep, or unable to find a friend. Many e-mail messages sent have been
sent to Journey of Hearts (often during the night) from those who have found solace on this site
during sleepless nights.
Dyer, KA. Thompson CD. Journey
of Hearts: From Idea to Reality A Website for Web-education on Grief and
Loss. ITCH 2000 (Information
Technology in community Health)Conference Preceedings. University
of Victoria, School of Information Health Sciences http://itch.uvic.ca/itch2000/DYER/DYER.htm
Dyer KA. Thompson CD. Internet
Use for Web-education on the Overlooked Areas of Grief and Loss. CyberPsychology
and Behavior. 2000; 3(2):255-270.
Dyer, KA, Thompson CD. Triad of
Medical Web-Education Advantages of Using a Website for Patient Web-Education.
JAMIP. November 1, 1999.
Dyer, KA, Thompson, CD. Lessons
and Insights Learned from Creating a Unique Integrative Medical Website
for Web-education. Presented at World Congress for the Internet in Medicine,
MEDNET '99 Heidelberg, Germany. http://www.journeyofhearts.org/jofh_old/mednet_99/
Dyer KA, Thompson CD, Reis O. Romer
S. Using the Internet for Patient and Physician Web-education and Health
Promotion. Presented at World Congress for the Internet in Medicine, MEDNET
'98, London, England. http://www.journeyofhearts.org/jofh_old/mednet_98/
One of the advantages
of a website is that it is always there,
even in the middle of
the night, when a person is receptive.
Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
See the Emergency
911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless,
hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.
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| Emergency Pick-Me-Ups
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