Introduction Engaging and empowering patients to have greater involvement in their care is central to the vision of many governmental health policies. It is widely recognised that facilitating self-management for patients by providing information to help support understanding, decision-making and motivating behavioural change can lead to significant improved health outcomes.1 We describe the development of a web-based IBD system that specifically aims to support patients’ in taking a more active role in managing their IBD.
Methods Design and implementation of a web-based system in the healthcare setting is complex with a number of human, technological and organisational factors that need to be considered from the start of the concept. Stakeholder involvement is essential throughout this process. Using the theoretical framework of self-efficacy we have designed a system with the specific aim to support patients to engage in their health. Our aim has been to develop a web-based system that is easily managed and sustainable for use in routine clinical practise.
Results ‘My IBD Portal’ has now been implemented. The web-based system is accessed via a secure login and provides patients with a number of components. This includes a summary of their disease, clinic letters and their latest test results. Functions known to further enhance self-management are included with electronic self-monitoring of symptoms and decision support. Secure messaging with the IBD unit is provided. Throughout the site personalised and trusted information links are integrated. The system is automated to populate the specific data fields each day from the hospital electronic medical record. The infrastructure of the system, has been specifically designed to be easily adopted throughout the UK healthcare setting.
Conclusion Design and implementation of patient-focused ehealth within the NHS is complex. Stakeholder involvement is essential. Evaluation of web-based interventions requires careful consideration, as they are often complex interventions by nature. The revised MRC framework provides a useful resource to develop a systematic process to evaluate such technologies.2 We are currently evaluating the impact of ‘My IBD Portal’ in a formal trial setting.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
De Silva et al. Evidence:Helping people help themselves. The Health Foundation 2011. http://www.health.org.uk
Anderson et al. New MRC guidance on complex interventions. 2008. BMJ; 338:a1937