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Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Online ISSN 1827-1642
Maiellaro P. A., Arrè M., De Carne M., Marino P.
Background. To analyse the type of users that access an online Consultancy service. To understand what patient expectations are and how such a service can modify the physician/ patient relationship.
Methods. Experimental design: retrospective investigation carried out by questionnaire which was sent out from 10/04/2001 to 05/06/2001. Participants: 65 users who had contacted the unit's online consultancy service. Of these 33 filled out the questionnaire. Questions: each user was asked for anagraphic data, in full respect for his/her privacy, and an evaluation of the service. The data obtained, stored in a database, were then analysed and the percentages of each variable calculated.
Results. The typical user is resident in the centre-north, is aged an average of 32 with an average level of education. He chose online consultancy largely to obtain a medical opinion in a short time without leaving home and without the long waiting times usually necessary to obtain a further specialist opinion. He was generally fairly pleased with the replies received and therefore judged the system useful.
Conclusions. The system is popular with users who access it to receive specific indications for treatment and to have more information about their condition. Given user expectations, it is necessary to guarantee the quality and reliability of the service and educate users in the correct use of these new technologies.