Illustration: PhD project about implementation

Internet-Based Patient-Provider Communication Service

Implementing Online Patient-Provider Communication into Clinical Practice


Project period

2009- 2014 


The Norwegian Research Council

About the project

An increasing number of studies indicate that Internet-based patient–provider communication services (IPPC) can help patients manage their illness better, improve health outcomes and improve quality of care. Thus, better utilization of IPPCs is increasingly becoming part of health care policies.

The main goal of this study is to explore the effectiveness of the IPPC service to improve patient, care, and system outcomes when it is used in regular clinical practice. Patients with cancer, diabetes and liver diseases at five different units at a university hospital were included to the study. Patients were randomized into two groups. The control group received usual care; the intervention group received the IPPC service and could have secure email contact with their health care providers over the Internet. Patients were followed with 1 baseline and 4 repeated measures over 6-8 months, dependent of diagnosis. In addition, health care providers and some patients participated in individual interviews, and system log data were analyzed. The study has so far revealed that an IPPC has the potential to help address patients’ unmet information needs and so to increase patients’ feeling of control (Wibe et al 2012), and that patients were satisfied with having the opportunity to send messages to health care providers through an IPPC, even if they did not use the service (Varsi et al 2013).


Wibe T, Hellesø R, Varsi C, Ruland CM, and Ekstedt M, “How Does an Online Patient-Nurse Communication Service Meet the Information Needs of Men with Recently Diagnosed Testicular Cancer?,” ISRN Nursing, 2012; 260975.

Varsi C, Gammon D, Wibe T, Ruland CM, “Patients’ Reported Reasons for Non-Use of an Internet-Based Patient-Provider Communication Service: Qualitative Interview Study”. J Med Internet Res, 2013; 15(11):e246. http://www