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Developing and Evaluating a Website to Guide Older Adults in Their Health Information Searches

This mixed-methods study developed and evaluated an online program to improve older adults’ skills in identifying high-quality web-based health information.

Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted to collect data on older adults’ preferences for online instruction and information. Findings were used to develop, pilot test, and evaluate an interactive website which was grounded in health behavior change models, adult education, and website construction.

Sixty-four participants were randomly assigned to Your Health Online: Guiding eSearches or to an analogous slide-based tutorial and compared in their knowledge, self-efficacy, and program assessment.

Experimental participants assigned significantly higher ratings of usability and learning to the new site than controls did to their tutorial, although no differences were found in self-efficacy or knowledge. Experimental participants reported participation was likely to improve future searches. Information is now needed to examine if such programs improve health searches, ehealth literacy, and health outcomes.

To learn more, see Fink & Beck (2015). Developing and evaluating a website to guide older adults in their health information searches: A mixed-methods approach. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 34(5), 633-651.

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