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Evaluation of Web-Based Ostomy Patient Support Resources

Pittman, Joyce; Nichols, Thom; Rawl, Susan M.

Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing: November/December 2017 - Volume 44 - Issue 6 - p 550–556
doi: 10.1097/WON.0000000000000371
Ostomy Care

PURPOSE: To evaluate currently available, no-cost, Web-based patient support resources designed for those who have recently undergone ostomy surgery.

DESIGN: Descriptive, correlational study using telephone survey.

SAMPLE AND SETTING: The sample comprised 202 adults who had ostomy surgery within the previous 24 months in 1 of 5 hospitals within a large healthcare organization in the Midwestern United States. Two of the hospitals were academic teaching hospitals, and 3 were community hospitals.

METHODS: The study was divided into 2 phases: (1) gap analysis of 4 Web sites (labeled A-D) based on specific criteria; and (2) telephone survey of individuals with an ostomy. In phase 1, a comprehensive checklist based on best practice standards was developed to conduct the gap analysis. In phase 2, data were collected from 202 participants by trained interviewers via 1-time structured telephone interviews that required approximately 30 minutes to complete. Descriptive analyses were performed, along with correlational analysis of relationships among Web site usage, acceptability and satisfaction, demographic characteristics, and medical history.

RESULTS: Gap analysis revealed that Web site D, managed by a patient advocacy group, received the highest total content score of 155/176 (88%) and the highest usability score of 31.7/35 (91%). Two hundred two participants completed the telephone interview, with 96 (48%) reporting that they used the Internet as a source of information. Sixty participants (30%) reported that friends or family member had searched the Internet for ostomy information on their behalf, and 148 (75%) indicated they were confident they could get information about ostomies on the Internet. Of the 90 participants (45%) who reported using the Internet to locate ostomy information, 73 (82%) found the information on the Web easy to understand, 28 (31%) reported being frustrated during their search for information, 24 (27%) indicated it took a lot of effort to get the information they needed, and 39 (43%) were concerned about the quality of the information.

CONCLUSION: Web-based patient support resources may be a cost-effective approach to providing essential ostomy information, self-management training, and support. Additional research is needed to examine the efficacy of Web-based patient support interventions to improve ostomy self-management knowledge, skills, and outcomes for patients.

Joyce Pittman, PhD, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, CWOCN, Indiana University Health/Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis.

Thom Nichols, MS, MBA, Hollister Incorporated, Chicago, Illinois.

Susan M. Rawl, PhD, RN, FAAHB, FAAN, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis.

Correspondence: Joyce Pittman, PhD, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, CWOCN, Indiana University Health/Indiana University School of Nursing, 1701 Senate Blvd, Rm B651, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (

Drs Joyce Pittman and Susan Rawl have no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose. Thom Nichols is an associate of Hollister Incorporated.

© 2017 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society.