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Journal Description

i-JMR is a general medical journal with a focus on innovation in health, health care, and medicine - through new medical techniques and innovative ideas and/or research, including—but not limited to—technology, clinical informatics, sociotechnical and organizational health care innovations, or groundbreaking research.

i-JMR is indexed in PubMed and archived in PubMed Central.

i-JMR is also indexed in Clarivate Analytics (formerly the IP and Science Division of Thomson Reuters) new Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI).

 

Recent Articles:

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: katemangostar; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/serious-asian-young-female-doctor-using-tablet-computer_2448908.htm#page=2&query=asian+doctor&position=25; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Physician Decision-Making Patterns and Family Presence: Cross-Sectional Online Survey Study in Japan

    Abstract:

    Background: Due to a low birth rate and an aging population, Japan faces an increase in the number of elderly people without children living in single households. These elderly without a spouse and/or children encounter a lack of caregivers because most sources of care for the elderly in Japan are not provided by private agencies but by family members. However, family caregivers not only help with daily living but are also key participants in treatment decision making. The effect of family absence on treatment decision making has not been elucidated, although more elderly people will not have family members to make surrogate decisions on their behalf. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional online survey among Japanese physicians using three hypothetical vignettes. The first vignette was about a 65-year-old man with alcoholic liver cirrhosis and the second was about a 78-year-old woman with dementia, both of whom developed pneumonia with consciousness disturbance. The third vignette was about a 70-year-old woman with necrosis of her lower limb. Participants were randomly assigned to either of the two versions of the questionnaires—with family or without family—but methods were identical otherwise. Participants chose yes or no responses to questions about whether they would perform the presented medical procedures. Results: Among 1112 physicians, 454 (40.8%) completed the survey; there were no significant differences in the baseline characteristics between groups. Significantly fewer physicians had a willingness to perform dialysis (odds ratio [OR] 0.55, 95% CI 0.34-0.80; P=.002) and artificial ventilation (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.35-0.75; P<.001) for a patient from vignette 1 without family. In vignette 2, fewer physicians were willing to perform artificial ventilation (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.39-0.90; P=.02). In vignette 3, significantly fewer physicians showed willingness to perform wound treatment (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.31-0.84; P=.007), surgery (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.22-0.57; P<.001), blood transfusion (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.31-0.66; P<.001), vasopressor (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.34-0.72; P<.001), dialysis (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.24-0.59; P<.001), artificial ventilation (OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.15-0.40; P<.001), and chest compression (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.18-0.47; P<.001) for a patient without family. Conclusions: Elderly patients may have treatments withheld because of the absence of family, highlighting the potential importance of advance care planning in the era of an aging society with a declining birth rate.

  • People searching for online health information. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: Lars König; URL: https://www.i-jmr.org/2019/3/e13619; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Influence of Enthusiastic Language on the Credibility of Health Information and the Trustworthiness of Science Communicators: Insights From a Between-Subject...

    Abstract:

    Background: To decide whether online health information is reliable, information seekers apply 2 stretegies: first, information seekers can make credibility judgments by using their prior knowledge to evaluate the validity of the encountered health claim. Second, instead of evaluating the health claim itself, information seekers can make trustworthiness judgments by evaluating the character of the information source. In recent years, information givers from various professions have begun to use enthusiastic language to disseminate their information and persuade their audiences. Objective: To systematically explore this phenomenon, the goal of this study was to answer the following research questions: (1) does an enthusiastic language style, in comparison with a neutral language style, increase the trustworthiness of a person arguing in an online health forum and the credibility of his or her information? (2) does working for a university, in comparison with working for a lobbying organization, increase the trustworthiness of a person arguing in an online health forum and the credibility of his or her information? (3) does working for a university in combination with using an enthusiastic language style result in especially high trustworthiness and credibility ratings? Methods: In a 2x2 between-subject online experiment, 270 participants read a post from an online health forum and subsequently rated the trustworthiness of the forum post author and the credibility of his information. A total of 2 aspects of the forum post varied, namely the professional affiliation of the forum post author (whether the person introduced himself as a scientist or a lobbyist) and his language style (whether he used a neutral language style or an enthusiastic language style). Results: When the forum post author used an enthusiastic language style, he was perceived as more manipulative (P<.001), less knowledgeable (P<.001), and his information was perceived as less credible (P<.001). Overall, scientists were perceived as less manipulative (P=.04) than lobbyists. Furthermore, language style and professional affiliation interacted: When the forum post author was a lobbyist, language style did not affect integrity (P=.96) and benevolence (P=.79) ratings. However, when the forum post author was a scientist, enthusiastic language led to lower integrity (P=.002) and benevolence (P<.001) ratings than neutral language. Conclusions: The current findings illustrate that health information seekers do not just react to online health information itself. In addition, they are also sensitive to the ways in which health information is presented (“Which langue style is used to communicate health information?”) and who presents it (“Who does the health information source work for?”).

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: freepik; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/man-lying-bed-using-mobile-phone_3272272.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Mobile App Use for Insomnia Self-Management: Pilot Findings on Sleep Outcomes in Veterans

    Abstract:

    Background: Sleep disturbance is a major health concern among US veterans who have served since 2001 in a combat theater in Iraq or Afghanistan. We report subjective and objective sleep results from a pilot trial assessing self-management–guided use of a mobile app (CBT-i Coach, which is based on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) as an intervention for insomnia in military veterans. Objective: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate changes in subjective and objective sleep outcomes from pre to postintervention. Methods: Subjective outcomes included the Insomnia Severity Index, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Inventory, and sleep-related functional status. A wearable sleep monitor (WatchPAT) measured objective sleep outcomes, including sleep efficiency, percent rapid eye movement (REM) during sleep, sleep time, and sleep apnea. A total of 38 participants were enrolled in the study, with 18 participants being withdrawn per the protocol because of moderate or severe sleep apnea and 9 others who dropped out or withdrew. Thus, 11 participants completed the full 6-week CBT-i Coach self-management intervention (ie, completers). Results: Completer results indicated significant changes in subjective sleep measures, including reduced reports of insomnia (Z=–2.68, P=.007) from pre (mean 16.63, SD 5.55) to postintervention (mean 12.82, SD 3.74), improved sleep quality (Z=–2.37, P=.02) from pre (mean 12.82, SD 4.60) to postintervention (mean 10.73, SD 3.32), and sleep-related functioning (Z=2.675, P=.007) from pre (mean 13.86, SD 3.69) to postintervention (mean 15.379, SD 2.94). Among the objective measures, unexpectedly, objective sleep time significantly decreased from pre to postintervention (χ22=7.8, P=.02). There were no significant changes in percent REM sleep or sleep efficiency. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the CBT-i Coach app can improve subjective sleep and that incorporating objective sleep measures into future, larger clinical trials or clinical practice may yield important information, particularly by detecting previously undetected sleep apnea. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02392000; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02392000

  • Source: Unsplash; Copyright: freestocks.org; URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/ux53SGpRAHU; License: Licensed by the authors.

    What the Health? Information Sources and Maternal Lifestyle Behaviors

    Abstract:

    Background: Regular physical activity (PA), adequate gestational weight gain (GWG), and healthy eating are important for the long-term health of both mother and baby. Hence, it is important that women receive current and updated advice on these topics and are encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the main information sources among pregnant women regarding PA, GWG, and nutrition as well as to evaluate how these information sources may affect their health behaviors. Methods: A cross-sectional study design, comprising an electronic questionnaire, was distributed to 2 antenatal clinics, as well as pregnancy-related online chat forums and social media. The inclusion criteria were ≥18 years, ≥20 weeks gestation, and able to read and write Norwegian. In total, 150 pregnant women answered the questionnaire, which was a mix of 11-point Likert scales, close-ended questions, and semi–close-ended questions with the option to elaborate. The relationship between information sources and selected variables, including health behaviors and descriptive variables, were assessed by logistic regression, linear regression, or chi-square as appropriate (P<.05). Results: Mean age (years), gestation week, and prepregnancy body mass index (kg/m2) were 31.1 (SD 4.3), 30.6 (SD 5.9), and 24.2 (SD 4.2), respectively. More than eight out of 10 had received or retrieved information about nutrition (88.7%, 133/150) and PA (80.7%, 121/150), whereas 54.0% (81/150) reported information on GWG. When combining all 3 lifestyle factors, 38.5% had retrieved information from blogs and online forums and 26.6%, from their midwife or family physician. Women who reported the internet and media as their primary source of information on weight gain had increased odds of gaining weight below the Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines compared with gaining within the guidelines (odds ratio [OR] 15.5, 95% CI 1.4-167.4; P=.02). Higher compliance with nutritional guidelines was seen among those who cited the internet and media as their main source of information on nutrition (beta=.7, 95% CI 0.07-1.3; P=.03). On the other side, receiving advice from friends and family on weight gain was significantly associated with gaining weight above the IOM guidelines compared with gaining within the guidelines (OR 12.0, 95% CI 1.3-111.7; P=.03). No other associations were found between information sources and health behaviors. Conclusions: The small number of health professionals giving information and the extensive use of internet- and media-based sources emphasize the need to address the quality of internet advice and guide women toward trustworthy sources of information during pregnancy. The association between information sources and PA, GWG, and nutrition requires further research.

  • Source: Shutterstock; Copyright: garagestock; URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/food-allergy-concept-on-laptop-screen-514832893?src=library&studio=1; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Perceptions of Food Hypersensitivity Expertise on Social Media: Qualitative Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Seeking and sharing information are the primary uses of the internet and social media. It is therefore vital to understand the processes individuals go through when engaging with information on these diverse platforms, especially in areas such as health- and risk-related information. One important element of such engagement is evaluating and attributing expertise to others. Objective: This study aimed to explore how meanings around expertise in relation to food allergy and intolerance (food hypersensitivity) were constructed by 2 groups of social media users: (1) those who use platforms for reasons relating to food hypersensitivity and (2) those seen as experts by this community. Methods: Survey participants were asked open-ended questions to identify potential experts in food hypersensitivity issues on social media and to discuss their reasoning for their choices (n=143). Subsequently, 8 adult social media users with experience of managing food hypersensitivity and 5 participants designated as experts by those users took part in email interviews. Survey and interview data were analyzed thematically using Braun and Clarke’s approach. Results: Judging expertise on social media is a complex and multifaceted process. Users might be judged as experts through their professional background or their experience living with food hypersensitivities. How users behave on social media and the traces of their Web-based activity can influence how others will see them. Such considerations are both measured and moderated through the social media community itself. Findings highlighted how social media often act as a supportive information tool following a diagnosis, but this also raised concerns regarding the scenario of patients not being able to access suitable vetted information. Conclusions: This work has implications for understanding how users perceive expertise on social media in relation to a health concern and how information assessments are made during the management of risks. Findings provide practical insights to both medical and organizational stakeholders involved in the support of those living with life-changing conditions, such as food hypersensitivities.

  • VR (montage). Source: Shutterstock; Copyright: Omer Liran; URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/happy-coach-vr-headset-showing-size-1149705767; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Using Virtual Reality to Improve Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence in the Treatment of HIV: Open-Label Repeated Measure Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Nonadherence to HIV medications is a serious unsolved problem and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the HIV-positive population. Although treatment efficacy is high if compliance is greater than 90%, about 40% of people with HIV do not meet this threshold. Objective: This study aimed to test a novel approach to improve medication adherence by using a low-cost virtual reality (VR) experience to educate people with HIV about their illness. We hypothesized that people with HIV would be more likely to be compliant with the treatment following the 7-minute experience and, therefore, should have decreasing viral load (VL), increasing cluster of differentiation 4+ (CD4+) cell counts, and improved self-reported adherence. Methods: We showed the VR experience to 107 participants with HIV at a county hospital in Los Angeles, California. Participants were asked to self-report how often they take their medications on a Likert-scale. The self-reported question (SRQ) was given before and at least 2 weeks after the VR experience. We also compared VL and CD4+ cell counts before and on average 101 days after the experience. VL and CD4+ were obtained per the clinic’s standard care protocol. Two-tailed paired t tests were performed on the initial and follow-up SRQ scores, VL, and CD4+. We restricted the CD4+ analysis to participants who had a pre-CD4+ below normal (defined as 500 cells/mm3). To reduce the possibility that VL were trending down and CD4+ were trending up regardless of the VR experience, 2 serial VL and CD4+ obtained before the experience were also compared and analyzed. Immediately following the VR experience, participants were given a 4-question Likert-type postexperience questionnaire (PEQ) that assessed their opinions about the experience. Results: SRQ scores improved from pre to post experience with high significance (P<.001). VL decreased from pre to post experience by 0.38 log10 copies/mL (95% CI 0.06-0.70; P=.02). In contrast, the 2 serial VL obtained before the experience showed no statistically significant changes. There was also a statistically significant increase in CD4+ (95% CI –3.4 to –54.3 cells/mm3; P=.03). Analysis of the PEQ revealed that VR was comfortable for almost all of the participants and that most participants believed the experience to be educational and that it would improve their medication adherence. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the low-cost VR experience caused an increased rate of antiretroviral therapy adherence that resulted in a decrease of VL and an increase of CD4+. Further studies are required to explore the duration of this effect and whether these results are generalizable to other treatment settings and populations.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: SnapwireSnaps; URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/guy-bike-bicycle-lifestyle-adult-598180/; License: Licensed by the authors.

    “As If Neck Injuries Did Not Exist”: An Interview Study of Patients’ and Relatives’ Perceptions of Web Information on and Management of Whiplash...

    Abstract:

    Background: If purposefully designed, patient information can help individuals make well-founded health care decisions. This study was initiated to improve the information on whiplash injuries found in the national health care portal Healthcare Guide 1177, operated by the Swedish government. Objective: The objective of this study was to describe the thoughts of patients and relatives on (1) information about whiplash injuries presented in the portal and (2) the Swedish health care system’s management of whiplash injuries. Methods: A total of 5 interviews were conducted with patients (n=10) who had experienced a whiplash injury and with relatives (n=3) of such patients. The interviews were taped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed by means of conventional content analysis. Results: The following two themes emerged from the latent content analysis: (1) confidence and trust in the public health care system and (2) a disappointment with health care encounters. Conclusions: We found that most of the study participants felt distress due to insufficient information; respondents perceived a discrepancy between the public health care system's authority and the information provided. The Web information on whiplash injuries may greatly impact patients' care decisions as well as their physical, mental, and social well-being. We would recommend detailed patient information on whiplash injuries, with less emphasis on psychology and more data on pathophysiology, prognosis, and treatment.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Army Medicine; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/armymedicine/8616603578; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Orthopedic Surgeons’ Perspectives on the Decision-Making Process for the Use of Bioprinter Cartilage Grafts: Web-Based Survey

    Abstract:

    Background: Traumatic and degenerative lesions in the cartilage are one of the most difficult and frustrating types of injuries for orthopedic surgeons and patients. Future developments in medical science, regenerative medicine, and materials science may allow the repair of human body parts using 3D bioprinting techniques and serve as a basis for new therapies for tissue and organ regeneration. One future possibility is the treatment of joint cartilage defects with in vivo 3D printing from biological/biocompatible materials to produce a suitable cell attachment and proliferation environment in the damaged site and employ the natural recovery potential of the body. This study focuses on the perspectives of orthopedic surgeons regarding the key factors/determinants and perceived clinical value of a new therapeutic option. Objective: This study aimed to determine the knowledge and expectations of orthopedic surgeons regarding the clinical use of bioprinted cartilage. Methods: The survey, conducted anonymously and self-managed, was sent to orthopedic surgeons from the Catalan Society of Orthopedic and Traumatology Surgery. In accordance with the method devised by Eysenbach, the Checklist for Reporting Results of Internet E-Surveys was used to analyze the results. The following factors were taken into consideration: the type and origin of the information received; its relevance; the level of acceptance of new technologies; and how the technology is related to age, years, and place of experience in the field. Results: Of the 86 orthopedic surgeons included, 36 believed the age of the patient was a restriction, 53 believed the size of the lesion should be between 1 and 2 cm to be considered for this type of technology, and 51 believed that the graft should last more than 5 years. Surgeons over 50 years of age (38/86, 44%) gave more importance to clinical evidence as compared to surgeons from the other age groups. Conclusions: The perspective of orthopedic surgeons depends highly on the information they receive and whether it is specialized and consistent, as this will condition their acceptance and implementation of the bioprinted cartilage.

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: http://www.i-jmr.org/2019/2/e12664/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    EasyDetectDisease: An Android App for Early Symptom Detection and Prevention of Childhood Infectious Diseases

    Abstract:

    Background: Infectious diseases often lead to death among children under 5 years in many underdeveloped and developing countries. One of the main reasons behind this is an unawareness of disease symptoms among mothers and child caregivers. To overcome this, we propose the EasyDetectDisease mobile health app to educate mothers about the early symptoms of pediatric diseases and to provide them with practical advice for preventing the spread of such diseases in children under 5 years. The EasyDetectDisease app includes detailed knowledge of infectious diseases, including the corresponding symptoms, causes, incubation period, preventive measures, nutritional guidelines such as breastfeeding, video tutorials of child patients, and video guidelines by pediatric health experts to promote child health. It also provides information on the diagnosis of the infectious diseases based on symptoms. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the usability (eg, ease of use, easy detection of disease, functionality, and navigation of interfaces) of the EasyDetectDisease app among mothers of children under 5 years of age. Methods: Two health sessions, held in Pakistan, were used to evaluate the usability of EasyDetectDisease by 30 mothers of children under 5 years. The app was evaluated based on various quantitative and qualitative measures. Results: The participating mothers confirmed that they were able to diagnose diseases accurately and that after following the instructions provided, their children recovered rapidly without any nutritional deficiency. All participating mothers showed an interest in using the EasyDetectDisease app if made available by governmental public health agencies, and they suggested its inclusion in all mobile phones as a built-in health app in the future. Conclusions: EasyDetectDisease was modified into a user-friendly app based on feedback collected during the usability sessions. All participants found it acceptable and easy to use, especially illiterate mothers. The EasyDetectDisease app proved to be a useful tool for child health care at home and for the treatment of infectious diseases and is expected to reduce the mortality rate of children under 5 years of age.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Freepik; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/attractive-young-woman-using-spray-treat-sore-throat_3590147.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Clinical Impact of a Digital Dose Counter Pressurized Metered-Dose Inhaler on Uncontrolled Asthma: Cross-Sectional, Observational, Surveillance Study

    Abstract:

    Background: In India, control of asthma with persistent symptoms remains a clinical enigma with likely incriminating factors including non- and pseudoadherence to the inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta2-agonists. The United States Food and Drug Administration guidance recommends the use of dose counter pressurized metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) with further mechanisms to track adherence and pseudoadherence in real-world settings. Objective: Digital dose counter pMDIs (dpMDIs) offer simplified, reliable tracking of individual “actuated” dosages with “END” display at completion of the labelled therapeutic aerosol spray. The translational impact on symptom persistence with likely unwarranted exposure to the “Step up” strategy is often prevented if not treated, as in the cases of “pseudo” severe asthma. To further assess the real-world acceptance and clinical impact of dpMDIs in bronchial asthma including poorly controlled or uncontrolled bronchial asthma cases, a noninterventional observational study was performed. Methods: This cross-sectional, retrospective, case cohort, observational study—the Drug Utilization Surveillance—of dpMDIs in bronchial asthma was conducted in September 2016 in an outpatient setting in India. The retrospective analysis was initiated and conducted as per the International Conference on Harmonization Good Clinical Practice principles and Declaration of Helsinki, following approval from the local ethics committee and registration in the Clinical Trial Registry of India. Results: Consecutive cases of moderate-to-severe asthma with poor control (n=4575), diagnosed as per the Global Initiative for Asthma symptom scale at baseline and follow-up, were included. Patients under treatment using dpMDIs were enrolled from 500 centers across India and assessed by respiratory care specialists. Baseline asthma control was assessed as partly controlled (n=4575) or poorly controlled (n=2942). Per protocol analyses showed that asthma was well controlled with dpMDIs at 8 weeks in 92.7% of the cases (2727/2942, P<.001). Adverse events (n=106, 2%) of mild-to-moderate intensity were reported. Nebulization was required in two patients with episodic breathlessness who were discharged with no consequent sequelae. Post hoc analyses for patients with baseline poorly controlled asthma who “switched” exclusively to dpMDI monotherapy or a combination with xanthines or long-acting beta2-agonists showed a “well controlled” asthma status in 85.9% (500/582, P=.04), 95.4% (395/414, P=.048), and 80.3% (106/132, P=.28) of the cases, respectively. The patient acceptability criteria for an “empty” canister was well correlated with the clinical strategy to identify and avoid pseudoadherence in poorly controlled or difficult-to-treat asthma cases, especially in patients who “switched” exclusively to dpMDIs (n=582) and demonstrated responses of “Use till twenty dose display” (65/156, 41.6%), “Use till END display” (83/156, 53.2%), and “Use till LAST spray” (8/156, 5.1%). Conclusions: dpMDIs offer simple, accurate, and reliable tracking of non- and pseudoadherence while highlighting incremental asthma-control rates in severe and pseudosevere asthma cases before risk assessment for further “add-on” therapy Trial Registration: Clinical Trials Registry - India CTRI/2018/06/014595; http://www.ctri.nic.in/Clinicaltrials/pmaindet2.php? trialid=24583

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: UC Davis College of Engineering Follow; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ucdaviscoe/43141312700/in/album-72157673882491418/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Artificial Intelligence in Clinical Health Care Applications: Viewpoint

    Abstract:

    The idea of artificial intelligence (AI) has a long history. It turned out, however, that reaching intelligence at human levels is more complicated than originally anticipated. Currently, we are experiencing a renewed interest in AI, fueled by an enormous increase in computing power and an even larger increase in data, in combination with improved AI technologies like deep learning. Healthcare is considered the next domain to be revolutionized by artificial intelligence. While AI approaches are excellently suited to develop certain algorithms, for biomedical applications there are specific challenges. We propose six recommendations—the 6Rs—to improve AI projects in the biomedical space, especially clinical health care, and to facilitate communication between AI scientists and medical doctors: (1) Relevant and well-defined clinical question first; (2) Right data (ie, representative and of good quality); (3) Ratio between number of patients and their variables should fit the AI method; (4) Relationship between data and ground truth should be as direct and causal as possible; (5) Regulatory ready; enabling validation; and (6) Right AI method.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: katemangostar; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/happy-elderly-woman-her-daughter-browsing-tablet-computer_4166883.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Differences in the Level of Electronic Health Literacy Between Users and Nonusers of Digital Health Services: An Exploratory Survey of a Group of Medical...

    Abstract:

    Background: Digitalization of health services ensures greater availability of services and improved contact to health professionals. To ensure high user adoption rates, we need to understand the indicators of use and nonuse. Traditionally, these have included classic sociodemographic variables such as age, sex, and educational level. Electronic health literacy (eHL) describes knowledge, skills, and experiences in the interaction with digital health services and technology. With our recent introduction of 2 new multidimensional instruments to measure eHL, the eHL questionnaire (eHLQ) and the eHL assessment (eHLA) toolkit, eHL provides a multifaceted approach to understand use and nonuse of digital health solutions in detail. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate how users and nonusers of digital services differ with respect to eHL, in a group of patients with regular contact to a hospital outpatient clinic. Furthermore, to examine how usage and nonusage, and eHL levels are associated with factors such as age, sex, educational level, and self-rated health. Methods: Outpatients were asked to fill out a survey comprising items about usage of digital services, including digital contact to general practitioner (GP) and communication via the national health portal sundhed.dk, the eHLQ, and the eHLA toolkit, as well as items on age, sex, education, and self-rated health. In total, 246 patients completed the survey. A Mann-Whitney test was used to test for differences between users and nonusers of digital services. Correlation tests described correlations between eHL scales (eHEALSs) and age, education, and self-rated health. A significance level of .0071 was used to reject the null hypothesis in relation to the eHEALSs and usage of digital services. Results: In total, 95.1% (234/246) of the participants used their personal digital ID (NemID), 57.7% (142/246) were in contact with their GPs electronically, and 54.0% (133/246) had used the national health portal (sundhed.dk) within the last 3 months. There were no differences between users and nonusers of sundhed.dk with respect to age, sex, educational level, and self-rated health. Users of NemID scored higher than nonusers in 6 of the 7 dimensions of eHLQ, the only one which did not differ was dimension 2: Understanding of health concepts and language. Sundhed.dk users had a higher score in all of the 7 dimensions except for dimension 4: Feel safe and in control. The eHLA toolkit showed that users of sundhed.dk and NemID had higher levels of eHL with regard to tools 2, 5, 6, and 7. Furthermore, users of sundhed.dk had higher levels of eHL with regard to tools 3 and 4. Conclusions: Information about patients’ eHL may provide clinicians an understanding of patients’ reasons for not using digital health services, better than sociodemographic data or self-rated health.

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  • The impact of a physician’s recommendation and gender on informed decision making: A randomized controlled study

    Date Submitted: Jul 25, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Jul 29, 2019 - Sep 23, 2019

    Background: When making decisions regarding their own health, patients are affected by a variety of influencing factors. The attending physician plays a particularly important role in this context. Th...

    Background: When making decisions regarding their own health, patients are affected by a variety of influencing factors. The attending physician plays a particularly important role in this context. This also applies in situations that are preference-sensitive and in which therefore the needs and wishes of the patient should be particularly acknowledged. The influence of physicians can emanate both from their statements and from their physical presence. Objective: This study examined the influence of physicians’ recommendations and their gender on the decision-making process in a preference-sensitive situation. The participants were asked to imagine a hypothetical scenario in which they themselves suffered from a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Methods: The participants (n=202) received general information on the ACL and on treatment options for an ACL rupture (surgical treatment vs. physiotherapeutic treatment). They were explicitly informed that both treatment options showed the same treatment success in the medical research literature, and that this was therefore a preference-sensitive decision situation. Subsequently, the participants indicated their decision for a treatment option, their certainty and satisfaction regarding their decision, and their attitude toward the two treatment options. The participants were then randomly assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 (physician’s recommendation: surgery vs. physiotherapy) x 2 (physician’s gender: female vs. male) design. They watched a video with a still picture of a drawn female or male doctor and with the audio track of a medical consultation with a female or male voice. They received further information about the treatment options and the female or male doctor’s recommendation for one option. The participants then indicated again their decision, certainty, satisfaction, and attitude. They also assessed the physician’s professional and social competence. Results: We found that the participants changed their decision in the direction of the physician’s recommendation (P<.001). The data also showed that certainty (P<.001) and satisfaction (P<.001) regarding the decision increased more strongly if the physician’s recommendation was in line with the participant’s prior attitude than if the recommendation was contrary to the participant’s prior attitude. Finally, we found that participants’ attitude toward the recommended treatment became more positive (surgery recommendation: P<.001; physiotherapy recommendation: P<.001). However, we found no influence of the physician’s gender on participants’ decision, attitude, or competence assessment. Conclusions: This research indicates that physicians should be careful with recommendations when aiming for shared decisions, as they might influence patients even if the patients have been made aware that they should take their personal preferences into account. This could be particularly problematic if the doctor’s recommendation is not in line with the patient’s preferences, as this contradiction may lead to less certainty and satisfaction regarding the decision. Clinical Trial: The study was pre-registered on the pre-registration platform AsPredicted (aspredicted.org) before we began data collection (registration number: #12946).

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