This document describes a project carried out to examine the use of web-based health information sites.
The project involved three diverse sites and groups, including patients and health-care professionals from a family health team and clinic in a large urban centre; community members from a social support agency in an urban centre; and community members and health providers from First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.
As well, different models of website access were explored. Patients from the family health team and clinic were prescribed “tailored” health information by their doctor or nurse, while community participants were directed to the appropriate tools and their access to the site was facilitated through a community researcher.
Researchers used surveys and interviews to determine users’ level of satisfaction with the web resources. Among the themes to emerge from the results were the critical importance of valid, reliable access to health information; the need for a website facilitator for community groups; and the importance of a learner-centred approach with regard to website design, technology, and content.