JMIR – mHealth and uHealth

Stefan Sigle, Pilar Barriga, Francisco Javier Correa Fernández, Christian Juhra, Steffen Härtel, Christian Fegeler.

Background: Medication is the most common intervention in health care, and the number of online consumer information systems within the pharmaceutical sector is increasing. However, online consumer information systems can be a barrier for users, imposing information asymmetries between stakeholders. Objective: The objective of this study was to quantify and compare the usability of an online consumer medication information system (OCMIS) against a reference implementation based on an interoperable information model for patients, physicians, and pharmacists. Methods: Quantitative and qualitative data were acquired from patients, physicians, and pharmacists in this online usability study. We administered 3 use cases and a post hoc questionnaire per user. Quantitative usability data including effectiveness (task success), efficiency (task time), and user satisfaction (system usability scale [SUS]) was complemented by qualitative and demographic data. Users evaluated 6 existing systems and 1 reference implementation of an OCMIS. Results: A total of 137 patients, 81 physicians, and 68 pharmacists participated in this study. Task success varied from 84% to 92% in patients, 66% to 100% in physicians, and 50% to 91% in pharmacists. Task completion time decreased over the course of the study for all but 2 OCMIS within the patient group. Due to an assumed nonnormal distribution of SUS scores, within-group comparison was done using the Kruskal-Wallis test. Patients showed differences in SUS scores (P=.02) and task time (P=.03), while physicians did not have significant differences in SUS scores (P=.83) and task time (P=.72). For pharmacists, a significant difference in SUS scores (P<.001) and task time (P=.007) was detected. Conclusions: The vendor-neutral reference implementation based on an interoperable information model was proven to be a promising approach that was not inferior to existing solutions for patients and physicians. For pharmacists, it exceeded user satisfaction scores compared to other OCMIS. This data-driven approach based on an interoperable information model enables the development of more user-tailored features to increase usability. This fosters data democratization and empowers stakeholders within the pharmaceutical sector.