Improving Access to HIV and AIDS Information Resources for Patients, Caregivers, and Clinicians: Results from the SHINE Project

Brian E Dixon, Kellie Kaneshiro


Background: Human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) remains a significant international public health challenge. The Statewide HIV/AIDS Information Network (SHINE) Project was created to improve HIV/AIDS health information use and access for health care professionals, patients, and affected communities in Indiana.
Objective: Our objective was to assess the information-seeking behaviors of health care professionals and consumers who seek information on the testing, treatment, and management of HIV/AIDS and the usability of the SHINE Project’s resources in meeting end user needs. The feedback was designed to help SHINE Project members improve and expand the SHINE Project’s online resources.
Methods: A convenience sample of health care professionals and consumers participated in a usability study. Participants were asked to complete typical HIV/AIDS information-seeking tasks using the SHINE Project website. Feedback was provided in the form of standardized questionnaire and usability “think-aloud” responses.
Results: Thirteen participants took part in the usability study. Clinicians generally reported the site to be “very good,” while consumers generally found it to be “good.” Health care professionals commented that they lack access to comprehensive resources for treating patients with HIV/AIDS. They requested new electronic resources that could be integrated in clinical practice and existing information technology infrastructures. Consumers found the SHINE website and its collected information resources overwhelming and difficult to navigate. They requested simpler, multimedia-content rich resources to deliver information on HIV/AIDS testing, treatment, and disease management.
Conclusions: Accessibility, usability, and user education remain important challenges that public health and information specialists must address when developing and deploying interventions intended to empower consumers and support coordinated, patient-centric care.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *