A tailored, dialogue-based health communication application for patients with chronic low back pain: study protocol of a randomised controlled trial.
BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2013 Jun 14;13(1):66
Authors: Dirmaier J, Härter M, Weymann N
BACKGROUND: Chronic low back pain is a common chronic condition whose treatment success can be improved by active involvement of patients. Patient involvement can be fostered by web-based applications combining health information with decision support or behaviour change support. These so-called Interactive Health Communication Applications (IHCAs) can reach great numbers of patients at low financial cost and provide information and support at the time, place and learning speed patients prefer. However, high attrition often seems to decrease the effects of web-based interventions. Tailoring content and tone of IHCAs to the individual patient s needs might improve usage and therefore effectiveness. This study aims to evaluate a tailored IHCA for people with chronic low back pain combining health information with decision support and behaviour change support. METHODS: The tailored IHCA will be tested regarding effectiveness and usage against a standard website with identical content in a single-blinded randomized trial with a parallel design. The IHCA contains information on chronic low back pain and its treatment options including health behaviour change recommendations. In the intervention group the content is delivered in dialogue form, tailored to relevant patient characteristics (health literacy, coping style). In the control group there is no tailoring, a standard web-page is used for presenting the content. Participants are unaware of group assignment. Eligibility criteria are age >= 18 years , self- reported chronic low back pain, and Internet access. To detect the expected small effect (Cohen’s d = 0.2), the sample aims to include 414 patients, with assessments at baseline, directly after the first on-page visit, and at 3-month follow-up using online self-report questionnaires. It is expected that the tailored IHCA has larger effects on knowledge and patient empowerment (primary outcomes) compared to a standard website. Secondary outcomes are website usage, preparation for decision making, and decisional conflict. DISCUSSION: IHCAs can be a suitable way to promote knowledge about chronic low back pain and self-management competencies. Results of the study can increase the knowledge on how to develop IHCAs which are more useful and effective for people suffering from chronic low back pain.Trial registration: International Clinical Trials Registry DRKS00003322.
PMID: 23768119 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]