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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 20, Issue 6, Pages 417-423
Original Article

Development of a Web-Based, Work-Related Asthma Educational Tool for Patients with Asthma

Shadi Ghajar-Khosravi,1 Susan M Tarlo,2,3,4,5 Gary M Liss,3,6 Mark Chignell,1 Marcos Ribeiro,2,4 Anthony J Levinson,7 and Samir Gupta2,5,8

1Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada
2Department of Medicine (institution from which the work originated), University of Toronto, Canada
3Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada
4Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Canada
5The Keenan Research Centre in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada
6Ontario Ministry of Labour, Toronto, Canada
7Division of e-Learning Innovation, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
8Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Asthma is a common chronic condition. Work-related asthma (WRA) has a large socioeconomic impact and is increasing in prevalence but remains under-recognized. Although international guidelines recommend patient education, no widely available educational tool exists.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a WRA educational website for adults with asthma.

METHODS: An evidence-based database for website content was developed, which applied evidence-based website design principles to create a website prototype. This was subsequently tested and serially revised according to patient feedback in three moderated phases (one focus group and two interview phases), followed by face validation by asthma educators.

RESULTS: Patients (n=10) were 20 to 28 years of age; seven (70%) were female, three (30%) were in university, two (20%) were in college and five (50%) were currently employed. Key format preferences included: well-spaced, bulleted text; movies (as opposed to animations); photos (as opposed to cartoons); an explicit listing of website aims on the home page; and an exploding tab structure. Participants disliked integrated games and knowledge quizzes. Desired informational content included a list of triggers, prevention/control methods, currently available tools and resources, a self-test for WRA, real-life scenario presentations, compensation information, information for colleagues on how to react during an asthma attack and a WRA discussion forum.

CONCLUSIONS: The website met the perceived needs of young asthmatic patients. This resource could be disseminated widely and should be tested for its effects on patient behaviour, including job choice, workplace irritant/allergen avoidance and/or protective equipment, asthma medication use and physician prompting for management of WRA symptoms.