E-Forum improves management of cardiac disease

Patients with cardiovascular disease and hypertension were satisfied with an e-Forum, a web-based moderated site, in terms of usability and engagement, according to a study published May 18 in JMIR Human Factors.

Maintaining a level of patient engagement can help reduce risk factors and improve care in patients with chronic diseases. In cardiac patients, specifically, online forums can help support individuals keep a healthy diet and reduce hospital visits. In this study, researchers from University Health Network in Toronto developed an e-Forum designed to promote patient engagement and long-term self-care adherence.

“According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounted for approximately one in every three deaths in the United States in 2013,” wrote first author Rika Tanaka, PhD, and colleagues. “Self-care are recommended to manage both CVD and hypertension to reduce modifiable risk factors and improve quality of life. To reduce risk for CVD and improve quality of life for patients, our research team developed a Web-based lifestyle counseling platform for cardiac patients to promote adherence to self-care recommendation.”

Researchers collected user feedback and adjusted the design of the e-Forum before providing it to 13 cardiac patients from the Heart Function Clinic at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center, University Health Network. Patients were asked to complete a set of tasks using the forum before undergoing a feedback interview. Each participant underwent three rounds of testing and reported high satisfaction with the e-Forum, with many indicating they found the forum to be useful in managing their health.                

“We found evidence to support the usability of the user interface for our e-Forum,” concluded Tanaka and colleagues. “These results indicate that the e-Forum will likely be a successful tool to support an online community of cardiac patients in their efforts to sustain long-term lifestyle behavior change.”