Computers in Patient Education

Deborah Lewis, EdD, RN, MPH


Comput Inform Nurs. 2003;21(2) 

In This Article


Computer-based patient education is an effective strategy for presenting information and improving knowledge outcomes. Clinical outcomes have improved significantly as a result of computer-based learning. Self-care behaviors and patient satisfaction are improved for persons with chronic disease. Social support can be provided effectively using online computer support groups. The digital divide continues to limit access. However, socioeconomic disparities have no reported impact on the abilities of patients to use computer-based technologies effectively. Findings have shown computer-based education to be effective for people across the age continuum. Computer-based learning can be tailored to the individual's specific literacy level. Although it is the responsibility of patient educators to develop computer-based education materials appropriate for the literacy levels of the readers, concerns exist regarding the quality and readability of Internet-based information.

Computer-based patient education is an effective way to deliver patient education. Few studies were identified that described how this approach to patient education influences the patient-provider role. In addition, limited research exists to document the cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness of computer-based patient education.


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