General Practitioners’ understandings pertaining to Reliability, Interactive and Usability Components associated with Health Websites

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Usher, Wayne
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Ahmet Caik

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This study was undertaken to determine the levels of understandings by Gold Coast General Practitioners (GPs) pertaining to such criteria as reliability, interactive and usability components associated with health websites. These are important considerations due to the increased levels of computer and World Wide Web (WWW)/Internet use and health website recommendations by GPs as a medium for modern e-health care delivery. A survey instrument consisting of 10 single response questions was mailed to 100 of the 410 GPs (24%) practicing on Queensland's Gold Coast. The return rate was 90% (n 젹0/100), (males, 67% [n 젶0/90]; females, 33% [n 젳0/90]). Survey questions were designed to measure the percentages (%, n/n) associated with GPs' indicated component understandings and allowed for participants to indicate their (a) gender, (b) age and (c) years of experience (less experienced 10 years/ 3 more experienced 10 years). Participants for this study were randomly chosen from an online telephone directory( This study indicates that gender, age and years of experience do affect a GP's understanding pertaining to reliability, interactive and usability components associated with health websites. More precisely, male GPs, who are aged 41-50, and who have had 10 years or more experience as a GP, demonstrated the highest overall percentage of component understanding. This study reports that Gold Coast GPs demonstrate a range of understandings and critical appraisal skills used to determine a health website's level of reliability, interactivity and usability; with many reporting a moderate understanding of these components. This study might help to guide future research and policy and assist GPs to develop the skills necessary for the recommendation of health websites and the delivery of effective modern e-health care. Web-based Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses or medical school programs aimed at educating GPs, about health website components, may be a future initiative for the healthcare industry. As this is the first Australian study of its type, further cross-cultural studies should be undertaken to explore why gender, age and years of experience affect a GP's health website component understandings. Keywords: general practitioners; e-health care; health websites; reliability components; interactive components; usability components

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Behaviour and Information Technology

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