Using health communication best practices to develop a web-based provider-patient communication aid: The CONNECT™ study

Linda Fleisher, Joanne Buzaglo, Michael Collins, Jennifer Millard, Suzanne M. Miller, Brian L. Egleston, Nicholas Solarino, Jonathan Trinastic, Donald J. Cegala, Al B. Benson, Kevin A. Schulman, Kevin P. Weinfurt, Daniel Sulmasy, Michael A. Diefenbach, Neal J. Meropol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: Although there is broad consensus that careful content vetting and user testing is important in the development of technology-based educational interventions, often these steps are overlooked. This paper highlights the development of a theory-guided, web-based communication aid (CONNECT™), designed to facilitate treatment decision-making among patients with advanced cancer. Methods: The communication aid included an on-line survey, patient skills training module and an automated physician report. Development steps included: (1) evidence-based content development; (2) usability testing; (3) pilot testing; and (4) patient utilization and satisfaction. Results: Usability testing identified some confusing directions and navigation for the on-line survey and validated the relevance of the "patient testimonials" in the skills module. Preliminary satisfaction from the implementation of the communication aid showed that 66% found the survey length reasonable and 70% found it helpful in talking with the physician. Seventy percent reported the skills module helpful and about half found it affected the consultation. Conclusion: Designing patient education interventions for translation into practice requires the integration of health communication best practice including user feedback along the developmental process. Practice implications: This developmental process can be translated to a broad array of community-based patient and provider educational interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-387
Number of pages10
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision aids
  • Health communication
  • Provider-patient communication
  • Usability testing
  • Web-based education


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