Internet services for communicating with the general practice

Barely noticed and used by patients

Martine W. J. Huygens, Joan Vermeulen, R.D. Friele, Onno C. P. van Schayck, Judith D. de Jong, Luc P. de Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Background:
The Netherlands is one of the frontrunners of eHealth in Europe. Many general practices offer Internet services, which can be used by patients to communicate with their general practice. In promoting and implementing such services, it is important to gain insight into patients’ actual use and intention toward using.
Objective:
The objective of the study is to investigate the actual use and intention toward using Internet services to communicate with the general practice by the general practice population. The secondary objective is to study the factors and characteristics that influence their intention to use such services.
Methods:
There were 1500 members of the Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel, age over 18 years, that were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. People who had contacted their general practitioner at least once in the past year were included. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about the following services: Internet appointment planning, asking questions on the Internet, email reminders about appointments, Internet prescription refill requests, Internet access to medical data, and Internet video consultation. Participants indicated whether they had used these services in the past year, they would like to use them, and whether they thought their general practice had these services. For the first two services, participants rated items based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology complemented with additional constructs. These items were divided into six subscales: effort expectancy, performance expectancy, trust, attitude, facilitating conditions, and social influence.
Results:
There were 546 participants that were included in the analyses out of 593 who met the inclusion criteria. The participants had a mean age of 53 years (SD 15.4), 43.6% (n=238) were male, and 66.8% (n=365) had at least one chronic illness. Actual use of the services varied between 0% (n=0, video consultation) and 10.4% (n=57, requesting prescription refill by Internet). The proportion of participants with a positive intention to use the service varied between 14.7% (n=80, video consultation) and 48.7% (n=266, Internet access to medical data). For each service, approximately half indicated that they did not know whether the service was available. Univariate logistic regression analyses revealed that all the constructs as well as age, level of education, and Internet usage had a significant association with intention toward using Internet appointment planning and asking questions by Internet.
Conclusions:
Internet communication services to contact the general practice are not yet frequently used by this population. Although a substantial number of persons have a positive intention toward using such services, not all people who receive primary care seem willing to use them. The lack of awareness of the availability and functionality of such services might play an important role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-33
JournalInteractive Journal of Medical Research
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • eHealth
  • online communication
  • primary care
  • general practice

Cite this

Huygens, Martine W. J. ; Vermeulen, Joan ; Friele, R.D. ; van Schayck, Onno C. P. ; de Jong, Judith D. ; de Witte, Luc P. / Internet services for communicating with the general practice : Barely noticed and used by patients. In: Interactive Journal of Medical Research. 2015 ; Vol. 4, No. 4. pp. 22-33.
@article{a9d75191ba7b4a3ba6e455b6e6d32300,
title = "Internet services for communicating with the general practice: Barely noticed and used by patients",
abstract = "Background: The Netherlands is one of the frontrunners of eHealth in Europe. Many general practices offer Internet services, which can be used by patients to communicate with their general practice. In promoting and implementing such services, it is important to gain insight into patients’ actual use and intention toward using.Objective: The objective of the study is to investigate the actual use and intention toward using Internet services to communicate with the general practice by the general practice population. The secondary objective is to study the factors and characteristics that influence their intention to use such services.Methods: There were 1500 members of the Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel, age over 18 years, that were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. People who had contacted their general practitioner at least once in the past year were included. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about the following services: Internet appointment planning, asking questions on the Internet, email reminders about appointments, Internet prescription refill requests, Internet access to medical data, and Internet video consultation. Participants indicated whether they had used these services in the past year, they would like to use them, and whether they thought their general practice had these services. For the first two services, participants rated items based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology complemented with additional constructs. These items were divided into six subscales: effort expectancy, performance expectancy, trust, attitude, facilitating conditions, and social influence.Results: There were 546 participants that were included in the analyses out of 593 who met the inclusion criteria. The participants had a mean age of 53 years (SD 15.4), 43.6{\%} (n=238) were male, and 66.8{\%} (n=365) had at least one chronic illness. Actual use of the services varied between 0{\%} (n=0, video consultation) and 10.4{\%} (n=57, requesting prescription refill by Internet). The proportion of participants with a positive intention to use the service varied between 14.7{\%} (n=80, video consultation) and 48.7{\%} (n=266, Internet access to medical data). For each service, approximately half indicated that they did not know whether the service was available. Univariate logistic regression analyses revealed that all the constructs as well as age, level of education, and Internet usage had a significant association with intention toward using Internet appointment planning and asking questions by Internet.Conclusions: Internet communication services to contact the general practice are not yet frequently used by this population. Although a substantial number of persons have a positive intention toward using such services, not all people who receive primary care seem willing to use them. The lack of awareness of the availability and functionality of such services might play an important role.",
keywords = "eHealth, online communication, primary care, general practice",
author = "Huygens, {Martine W. J.} and Joan Vermeulen and R.D. Friele and {van Schayck}, {Onno C. P.} and {de Jong}, {Judith D.} and {de Witte}, {Luc P.}",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.2196/ijmr.4245",
language = "English",
volume = "4",
pages = "22--33",
journal = "Interactive Journal of Medical Research",
issn = "1929-073X",
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}

Internet services for communicating with the general practice : Barely noticed and used by patients. / Huygens, Martine W. J.; Vermeulen, Joan; Friele, R.D.; van Schayck, Onno C. P.; de Jong, Judith D.; de Witte, Luc P.

In: Interactive Journal of Medical Research, Vol. 4, No. 4, 2015, p. 22-33.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Internet services for communicating with the general practice

T2 - Barely noticed and used by patients

AU - Huygens, Martine W. J.

AU - Vermeulen, Joan

AU - Friele, R.D.

AU - van Schayck, Onno C. P.

AU - de Jong, Judith D.

AU - de Witte, Luc P.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Background: The Netherlands is one of the frontrunners of eHealth in Europe. Many general practices offer Internet services, which can be used by patients to communicate with their general practice. In promoting and implementing such services, it is important to gain insight into patients’ actual use and intention toward using.Objective: The objective of the study is to investigate the actual use and intention toward using Internet services to communicate with the general practice by the general practice population. The secondary objective is to study the factors and characteristics that influence their intention to use such services.Methods: There were 1500 members of the Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel, age over 18 years, that were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. People who had contacted their general practitioner at least once in the past year were included. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about the following services: Internet appointment planning, asking questions on the Internet, email reminders about appointments, Internet prescription refill requests, Internet access to medical data, and Internet video consultation. Participants indicated whether they had used these services in the past year, they would like to use them, and whether they thought their general practice had these services. For the first two services, participants rated items based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology complemented with additional constructs. These items were divided into six subscales: effort expectancy, performance expectancy, trust, attitude, facilitating conditions, and social influence.Results: There were 546 participants that were included in the analyses out of 593 who met the inclusion criteria. The participants had a mean age of 53 years (SD 15.4), 43.6% (n=238) were male, and 66.8% (n=365) had at least one chronic illness. Actual use of the services varied between 0% (n=0, video consultation) and 10.4% (n=57, requesting prescription refill by Internet). The proportion of participants with a positive intention to use the service varied between 14.7% (n=80, video consultation) and 48.7% (n=266, Internet access to medical data). For each service, approximately half indicated that they did not know whether the service was available. Univariate logistic regression analyses revealed that all the constructs as well as age, level of education, and Internet usage had a significant association with intention toward using Internet appointment planning and asking questions by Internet.Conclusions: Internet communication services to contact the general practice are not yet frequently used by this population. Although a substantial number of persons have a positive intention toward using such services, not all people who receive primary care seem willing to use them. The lack of awareness of the availability and functionality of such services might play an important role.

AB - Background: The Netherlands is one of the frontrunners of eHealth in Europe. Many general practices offer Internet services, which can be used by patients to communicate with their general practice. In promoting and implementing such services, it is important to gain insight into patients’ actual use and intention toward using.Objective: The objective of the study is to investigate the actual use and intention toward using Internet services to communicate with the general practice by the general practice population. The secondary objective is to study the factors and characteristics that influence their intention to use such services.Methods: There were 1500 members of the Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel, age over 18 years, that were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. People who had contacted their general practitioner at least once in the past year were included. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about the following services: Internet appointment planning, asking questions on the Internet, email reminders about appointments, Internet prescription refill requests, Internet access to medical data, and Internet video consultation. Participants indicated whether they had used these services in the past year, they would like to use them, and whether they thought their general practice had these services. For the first two services, participants rated items based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology complemented with additional constructs. These items were divided into six subscales: effort expectancy, performance expectancy, trust, attitude, facilitating conditions, and social influence.Results: There were 546 participants that were included in the analyses out of 593 who met the inclusion criteria. The participants had a mean age of 53 years (SD 15.4), 43.6% (n=238) were male, and 66.8% (n=365) had at least one chronic illness. Actual use of the services varied between 0% (n=0, video consultation) and 10.4% (n=57, requesting prescription refill by Internet). The proportion of participants with a positive intention to use the service varied between 14.7% (n=80, video consultation) and 48.7% (n=266, Internet access to medical data). For each service, approximately half indicated that they did not know whether the service was available. Univariate logistic regression analyses revealed that all the constructs as well as age, level of education, and Internet usage had a significant association with intention toward using Internet appointment planning and asking questions by Internet.Conclusions: Internet communication services to contact the general practice are not yet frequently used by this population. Although a substantial number of persons have a positive intention toward using such services, not all people who receive primary care seem willing to use them. The lack of awareness of the availability and functionality of such services might play an important role.

KW - eHealth

KW - online communication

KW - primary care

KW - general practice

U2 - 10.2196/ijmr.4245

DO - 10.2196/ijmr.4245

M3 - Article

VL - 4

SP - 22

EP - 33

JO - Interactive Journal of Medical Research

JF - Interactive Journal of Medical Research

SN - 1929-073X

IS - 4

ER -