Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 13(4) May 2018 : 35-49.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2018.25495
Research Paper

An Exploration of the Content and Usability of Web-Based Resources Used by Individuals to Find and Access Family Physicians

Karen L. Tang, Fartoon Siad, Dima Arafah and Jocelyn Lockyer

Abstract

Background: The most commonly recommended strategy in Canada for patients wishing to find a regular family physician (FP) is through the use of websites with FP listings. We aimed to explore the content and usability of these websites.

Methods: We identified publicly available websites with FP listings in Western Canada, analyzing them thematically through open coding for website content and conducting framework analysis for website usability.

Results: Twelve unique websites were identified and grouped into three categories: (1) Physician regulatory authorities ("Colleges"); (2) Governmental; and (3) Miscellaneous. College websites provided the greatest detail about the FPs and enabled searching, though had low readability. Governmental websites listed basic contact information and were credible but contained less detail than College websites. Miscellaneous websites were narrower in focus and therefore easier to navigate but lacked updated and accurate information.

Conclusion: Many websites help patients find FPs. Their content and usability are variable, suggesting a need for guidance in the development of these resources.

 

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