JMIR Publications

interactive Journal of Medical Research

A general medical journal, focussing on innovation in health and medical research


Journal Description

i-JMR is a new general medical journal, harnessing the power of the Internet and mobile platforms (iPad) for knowledge dissemination and translation.

i-JMR is a general medical journal with a focus on innovation in health, health care, and medicine - through new medical techniques and innovative ideas and/or research, including - but not limited to - technology, clinical informatics, or groundbreaking research.

Published by JMIR Publications, publisher of JMIR, the leading eHealth/mHealth journal (Impact Factor 2011: 4.4), i-JMR has a broader scope and features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs (ready for deposit in PubMed Central), and an ipad App (in prep.).


Recent Articles:


    Internet Services for Communicating With the General Practice: Barely Noticed and Used by Patients


    Background: The Netherlands is one of the frontrunners of eHealth in Europe. Many general practices offer Internet services, which can be used by patients to communicate with their general practice. In promoting and implementing such services, it is important to gain insight into patients’ actual use and intention toward using. Objective: The objective of the study is to investigate the actual use and intention toward using Internet services to communicate with the general practice by the general practice population. The secondary objective is to study the factors and characteristics that influence their intention to use such services. Methods: There were 1500 members of the Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel, age over 18 years, that were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. People who had contacted their general practitioner at least once in the past year were included. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about the following services: Internet appointment planning, asking questions on the Internet, email reminders about appointments, Internet prescription refill requests, Internet access to medical data, and Internet video consultation. Participants indicated whether they had used these services in the past year, they would like to use them, and whether they thought their general practice had these services. For the first two services, participants rated items based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology complemented with additional constructs. These items were divided into six subscales: effort expectancy, performance expectancy, trust, attitude, facilitating conditions, and social influence. Results: There were 546 participants that were included in the analyses out of 593 who met the inclusion criteria. The participants had a mean age of 53 years (SD 15.4), 43.6% (n=238) were male, and 66.8% (n=365) had at least one chronic illness. Actual use of the services varied between 0% (n=0, video consultation) and 10.4% (n=57, requesting prescription refill by Internet). The proportion of participants with a positive intention to use the service varied between 14.7% (n=80, video consultation) and 48.7% (n=266, Internet access to medical data). For each service, approximately half indicated that they did not know whether the service was available. Univariate logistic regression analyses revealed that all the constructs as well as age, level of education, and Internet usage had a significant association with intention toward using Internet appointment planning and asking questions by Internet. Conclusions: Internet communication services to contact the general practice are not yet frequently used by this population. Although a substantial number of persons have a positive intention toward using such services, not all people who receive primary care seem willing to use them. The lack of awareness of the availability and functionality of such services might play an important role.

  • Photo licensed for use by Studio-Annika / iStock Photo.

    Feasibility of Two Educational Methods for Teaching New Mothers: A Pilot Study


    Background: Printed health educational materials are commonly issued to prepare patients for hospital discharge. Teaching methods that engage multiple senses have been shown to positively affect learning outcomes, suggesting that paper materials may not be the most effective approach when educating new mothers. In addition, many written patient educational materials do not meet national health literacy guidelines. Videos that stimulate visual and auditory senses provide an alternative, potentially more effective, strategy for delivering health information. The acceptability of these methods, as perceived by nurses executing patient education initiatives, is important for determining the most appropriate strategy. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of 2 educational methods for teaching new mothers how to care for themselves and their infants after hospital discharge. Feasibility was measured by adequate enrollment, acceptability of the intervention to patients and nurses, and initial efficacy. Methods: New mothers (n=98) on a Mother-Baby Unit received health information focused on self-care and infant care delivered as either simple printed materials or YouTube videos on an iPad. Mothers completed a pretest, post-test, and an acceptability survey. Following completion of the initiative, nurses who participated in delivering the health education using one of these 2 methods were asked to complete a survey to determine their satisfaction with and confidence in using the materials. Results: Mothers, on average, were 26 years old; 72% had a high school education; and 41% were African American. The improvement in knowledge scores was significantly higher for the iPad group (8.6% vs 4.4%, P=.02) compared to the pamphlet group. Group (B=4.81, P=.36) and time (B=6.12, P<.001) significantly affected scores, while no significant interaction effect was observed (B=5.69, P=.09). There were no significant differences in responses between the groups (all P values >.05). The nurses had a mean age of 44.3 years (SD 13.9) and had, on average, 16.6 years of experience (SD 13.8). The nurses felt confident and satisfied administering both educational modalities. Conclusions: The pamphlet and iPad were identified as feasible and acceptable modalities for educating new mothers about self-care and infant care, though the iPad was more effective in improving knowledge. Understanding the acceptability of different teaching methods to patient educators is important for successful delivery of informational materials at discharge.

  • Third molars on the Internet (image created by Kamal Maher Batra Hanna).

    Third Molars on the Internet: A Guide for Assessing Information Quality and Readability


    Background: Directing patients suffering from third molars (TMs) problems to high-quality online information is not only medically important, but also could enable better engagement in shared decision making. Objectives: This study aimed to develop a scale that measures the scientific information quality (SIQ) for online information concerning wisdom tooth problems and to conduct a quality evaluation for online TMs resources. In addition, the study evaluated whether a specific piece of readability software (Readability Studio Professional 2012) might be reliable in measuring information comprehension, and explored predictors for the SIQ Scale. Methods: A cross-sectional sample of websites was retrieved using certain keywords and phrases such as “impacted wisdom tooth problems” using 3 popular search engines. The retrieved websites (n=150) were filtered. The retained 50 websites were evaluated to assess their characteristics, usability, accessibility, trust, readability, SIQ, and their credibility using DISCERN and Health on the Net Code (HoNCode). Results: Websites’ mean scale scores varied significantly across website affiliation groups such as governmental, commercial, and treatment provider bodies. The SIQ Scale had a good internal consistency (alpha=.85) and was significantly correlated with DISCERN (r=.82, P<.01) and HoNCode (r=.38, P<.01). Less than 25% of websites had SIQ scores above 75%. The mean readability grade (10.3, SD 1.9) was above the recommended level, and was significantly correlated with the Scientific Information Comprehension Scale (r=.45. P<.01), which provides evidence for convergent validity. Website affiliation and DISCERN were significantly associated with SIQ (P<.01) and explained 76% of the SIQ variance. Conclusion: The developed SIQ Scale was found to demonstrate reliability and initial validity. Website affiliation, DISCERN, and HoNCode were significant predictors for the quality of scientific information. The Readability Studio software estimates were associated with scientific information comprehensiveness measures.

  • Yummy Mummy; January 2014
This image is from the public domain (

    Infant Feeding Websites and Apps: A Systematic Assessment of Quality and Content


    Background: Internet websites and smartphone apps have become a popular resource to guide parents in their children’s feeding and nutrition. Given the diverse range of websites and apps on infant feeding, the quality of information in these resources should be assessed to identify whether consumers have access to credible and reliable information. Objective: This systematic analysis provides perspectives on the information available about infant feeding on websites and smartphone apps. Methods: A systematic analysis was conducted to assess the quality, comprehensibility, suitability, and readability of websites and apps on infant feeding using a developed tool. Google and Bing were used to search for websites from Australia, while the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android were used to search for apps. Specified key words including baby feeding, breast feeding, formula feeding and introducing solids were used to assess websites and apps addressing feeding advice. Criteria for assessing the accuracy of the content were developed using the Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines. Results: A total of 600 websites and 2884 apps were screened, and 44 websites and 46 apps met the selection criteria and were analyzed. Most of the websites (26/44) and apps (43/46) were noncommercial, some websites (10/44) and 1 app were commercial and there were 8 government websites; 2 apps had university endorsement. The majority of the websites and apps were rated poor quality. There were two websites that had 100% coverage of information compared to those rated as fair or poor that had low coverage. Two-thirds of the websites (65%) and almost half of the apps (47%) had a readability level above the 8th grade level. Conclusions: The findings of this unique analysis highlight the potential for website and app developers to merge user requirements with evidence-based content to ensure that information on infant feeding is of high quality. There are currently no apps available to consumers that address a variety of infant feeding topics. To keep up with the rapid turnover of the evolving technology, health professionals need to consider developing an app that will provide consumers with a credible and reliable source of information about infant feeding, using quality assessment tools and evidence-based content.

  • Screenshot of strength and balance exercises from the Otago Exercise Program DVD.

    Understanding the Experiences of Rural Community-Dwelling Older Adults in Using a New DVD-Delivered Otago Exercise Program: A Qualitative Study


    Background: The home-based Otago Exercise Program (OEP) has been shown to reduce the occurrence of falls in community-dwelling seniors. A new OEP DVD was recently developed for people living in rural communities to be used with minimal coaching by a physical therapist. Objective: This study aimed to understand older adults’ experiences using the DVD-delivered OEP and explore barriers and facilitators to implementing the DVD-delivered OEP from the participants’ perspectives. Methods: Rural community-dwelling older adults (75 years and older) who participated in a six-month DVD-delivered OEP study were invited to participate in this qualitative study. Two small group interviews were initially conducted to explore the breadth of participants’ experiences with the program. These were followed by semi-structured individual interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of these experiences. An inductive constant comparison analysis of the transcripts was performed. To ensure methodological rigor, field notes, journaling, and an audit trail were maintained, supplemented by peer-review. Results: Of 32 eligible participants, five participated in group interviews and 16 in individual interviews. Three themes emerged. Theme 1, The OEP DVD—useful training tool but in need of more pep, represented participants’ experiences that the DVD provided important guidance at program onset, but was too slow and low-energy for longer-term use. Theme 2, Gaining control over one’s exercise regimen, but sometimes life gets in the way of staying active, described participants’ appreciation of the program’s flexibility, but personal health concerns and everyday lives posed challenges to adhering to the program. Theme 3, Social creatures—wanting greater human connection during exercise, described how some participants desired further social interactions for enhancing motivation and receiving guidance. Conclusions: Individuals should be encouraged to refer to the OEP user manual or DVD as needed and engage friends and family in exercises. The importance of exercise even when living with health problems should be raised at program onset, and participants should be supported in working through challenging issues. Health professionals should work with individuals to integrate the program with their everyday activities.

  • The image is from

The rights are explained here in German.
It is allowed to use the image without manipulation in journals and online.

    Effectiveness of Organ Donation Information Campaigns in Germany: A Facebook Based Online Survey


    Background: The German transplantation system is in a crisis due to a lack of donor organs. Information campaigns are one of the main approaches to increase organ donation rates. Since 2012, German health insurance funds are obliged by law to inform their members about organ donation. We raised the hypothesis: The willingness to sign a donor card rises due to the subsequent increase of specific knowledge by receiving the information material of the health insurance funds. Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the influence of information campaigns on the specific knowledge and the willingness to donate organs. Methods: We conducted an online survey based on recruitment via Facebook groups, advertisements using the snowball effect, and on mailing lists of medical faculties in Germany. Besides the demographic data, the willingness to hold an organ donor card was investigated. Specific knowledge regarding transplantation was explored using five factual questions resulting in a specific knowledge score. Results: We recruited a total of 2484 participants, of which 32.7% (300/917) had received information material. Mean age was 29.9 (SD 11.0, median 26.0). There were 65.81% (1594/2422) of the participants that were female. The mean knowledge score was 3.28 of a possible 5.00 (SD 1.1, median 3.0). Holding a donor card was associated with specific knowledge (P<.001), but not with the general education level (P=.155). Receiving information material was related to holding a donor card (P<.001), but not to a relevant increase in specific knowledge (difference in mean knowledge score 3.20 to 3.48, P=.006). The specific knowledge score and the percentage of organ donor card holders showed a linear association (P<.001). Conclusions: The information campaign was not associated with a relevant increase in specific knowledge, but with an increased rate in organ donor card holders. This effect is most likely related to the feeling of being informed, together with an easy access to the organ donor card.

  • ©Thinkstock/Assistance Publique – Hôpital de Paris (AP-HP).

    What Kind of Information About Marginal Donors Is Available Through Sources Other Than Health Care Professionals for Patients on the Waiting List for Organ...


    Background: The current organ shortage has necessitated expanding the criteria for potential donations to marginal donors (older or sick donors whose organs would have been considered unsuitable before). In France, physicians are not required to provide information to recipients about marginal donors except for hepatitis C or hepatitis B infection and non-heart-beating donations. We hypothesized that patients can be informed about these risks by other information sources than health care professionals, such as websites and patient associations. Objective: The objectives of the study were to identify the main health information sources of transplant patients other than health professionals and to evaluate the information provided by websites and associations to patients about the risks of transplantation from marginal donors. Methods: In this study, the information sources for kidney, liver, heart, and lung patients that had already received transplants or registered on waiting lists were identified by a survey in four transplant centers. Further, the information proposed by French and English language websites and patient associations were evaluated, respectively, by a systematic review of websites and a survey among the presidents of kidney, liver, heart, and lung patient associations. Results: For the first survey, (367/402) 91.3% responses were registered. Apart from health professionals identified as the principal information source (363/367) 98.9%, 19 liver and 28 heart patients searched for information on the websites, while 37 kidney and 42 lung patients were more informed by patients’ associations. Our two last surveys showed that information about marginal donors is accessible by websites and (10/34) 30% of associations. All of the 60 Internet documents evaluated on French language and English language websites proposed information about marginal donors. Otherwise, (52/65) 80% of these documents were dedicated to health professionals and contained specialized information, difficult to understand by patients. Certain associations, (20/34) 59%, provided information about the risks of transplantation. There were 45/115 patients considering associations as their main information source that were informed by an association’s website. However, only (5/22) 23% of associations communicated the risks of transplantation with patients through their websites. Conclusions: Currently, patients want to be more informed by other information sources than health professionals, particularly by the websites. Nevertheless, they cannot always trust information proposed by these sources. They need to have their physicians inform them about specialized keywords and present them with reliable information sources. So reliable centers such as universities, transplant centers, and associations should develop the quality and quantity of information proposed to patients on their websites.

  • When parents seek information related to parenting of a child with cleft lip and/or palate they quickly learn that most resources available are at higher level than they can read.

    Readability of Information Related to the Parenting of a Child With a Cleft


    Background: Many parents look to various sources for information about parenting when their child has a cleft lip and/or palate. More than 8 million Americans perform health-related searches every day on the World Wide Web. Furthermore, a significant number of them report feeling “overwhelmed” by the language and content of the information. Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine the readability of information related to parenting a child with cleft lip and/or palate. It was hypothesized that the readability of such materials would be at a level higher than 6th grade. Methods: In February of 2012, a Web-based search was conducted using the search engine Google for the terms “parenting cleft lip and palate.” Results: A total of 15 websites, 7 books, and 8 booklets/factsheets (N=30) entered the readability analysis. Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Fog Scale Level, and Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) index scores were calculated. The reading level of the websites and books ranged from 8th to 9th and 9th to10th grade, respectively. The average reading level of the booklets/factsheets was 10th grade. Overall, the mean readability of the media resources analyzed was considered “hard to read.” No statistically significant mean difference was found for the readability level across websites, books, and booklets/factsheets (Kruskal-Wallis test, significance level .05). Conclusions: When considering websites, books, booklets, and factsheets analyzed, the average readability level was between 8th and 10th grade. With the US national reading level average at 8th grade and the general recommendation that health-related information be written at a 6th grade level, many parents may find the text they are reading too difficult to comprehend. Therefore, many families might be missing out on the opportunity to learn parenting practices that foster optimal psychosocial development of their children.

  • Feature image for homepage. Free stock image from

    An Innovative Approach to Informing Research: Gathering Perspectives on Diabetes Care Challenges From an Online Patient Community


    Background: Funding agencies and researchers increasingly recognize the importance of patient stakeholder engagement in research. Despite calls for greater patient engagement, few studies have engaged a broad-based online community of patient stakeholders in the early stages of the research development process. Objective: The objective of our study was to inform a research priority-setting agenda by using a Web-based survey to gather perceptions of important and difficult aspects of diabetes care from patient members of a social networking site-based community. Methods: Invitations to participate in a Web-based survey were sent by email to members of the PatientsLikeMe online diabetes community. The survey asked both quantitative and qualitative questions addressing individuals’ level of difficulty with diabetes care, provider communication, medication management, diet and exercise, and relationships with others. Qualitative responses were analyzed using content analysis. Results: Of 6219 PatientsLikeMe members with diabetes who were sent survey invitations, 1044 (16.79%) opened the invitation and 320 (5.15% of 6219; 30.65% of 1044) completed the survey within 23 days. Of the 320 respondents, 33 (10.3%) reported having Type 1 diabetes; 107 (33.4%), Type 2 diabetes and taking insulin; and 180 (56.3%), Type 2 diabetes and taking oral agents or controlling their diabetes with lifestyle modifications. Compared to 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data for individuals with diabetes, our respondents were younger (mean age 55.8 years, SD 9.9 vs 59.4 years, SE 0.5); less likely to be male (111/320, 34.6% vs 48.4%); and less likely to be a racial or ethnic minority (40/312, 12.8% vs 37.5%). Of 29 potential challenges in diabetes care, 19 were categorized as difficult by 20% or more of respondents. Both quantitative and qualitative results indicated that top patient challenges were lifestyle concerns (diet, physical activity, weight, and stress) and interpersonal concerns (trying not to be a burden to others, getting support from family/friends). In our quantitative analysis, similar concerns were expressed across patient subgroups. Conclusions: Lifestyle and interpersonal factors were particularly challenging for our online sample of adults with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Our study demonstrates the innovative use of social networking sites and online communities to gather rapid, meaningful, and relevant patient perspectives that can be used to inform the development of research agendas.

  • (cc) Pehora et al. How parents attending a Canadian tertiary hospital are using the Internet for their child's health information.

    Are Parents Getting it Right? A Survey of Parents’ Internet Use for Children’s Health Care Information


    Background: The use of the Internet to search for medical and health-related information is increasing and associated with concerns around quality and safety. Objective: We investigated the current use and perceptions on reliable websites for children’s health information by parents. Methods: Following institutional ethics approval, we conducted a survey of parents/guardians of children presenting for day surgery. A 20-item survey instrument developed and tested by the investigators was administered. Results: Ninety-eight percent of respondents reported that they used the Internet to search for information about their child’s health. Many respondents reported beginning their search at public search engines (80%); less than 20% reported starting their search at university/hospital-based websites. Common conditions such as colds/flu, skin conditions and fever were the most frequently searched, and unique conditions directly affecting the child were second. Despite low usage levels of university/hospital-based websites for health information, the majority of respondents (74%) regarded these as providing safe, accurate, and reliable information. In contrast, only 24% of respondents regarded public search engines as providing safe and reliable information. Fifty percent of respondents reported that they cross-checked information found on the internet with a family physician. Conclusions: An unprecedented majority of parents and guardians are using the Internet for their child’s health information. Of concern is that parents and guardians are currently not using reliable and safe sources of information. Health care providers should begin to focus on improving access to safe, accurate, and reliable information through various modalities including education, designing for multiplatform, and better search engine optimization.

  • Side-by-side view of desktop layout (A) versus mobile layout (B) depicting appendicitis (ie, inflammation of the appendix). The control panel folds if the screen resolution is too small (B) to provide an unhindered view on the slide. Pathological annotations are shown.

    A Virtual Microscope for Academic Medical Education: The Pate Project


    Background: Whole-slide imaging (WSI) has become more prominent and continues to gain in importance in student teaching. Applications with different scope have been developed. Many of these applications have either technical or design shortcomings. Objective: To design a survey to determine student expectations of WSI applications for teaching histological and pathological diagnosis. To develop a new WSI application based on the findings of the survey. Methods: A total of 216 students were questioned about their experiences and expectations of WSI applications, as well as favorable and undesired features. The survey included 14 multiple choice and two essay questions. Based on the survey, we developed a new WSI application called Pate utilizing open source technologies. Results: The survey sample included 216 students—62.0% (134) women and 36.1% (78) men. Out of 216 students, 4 (1.9%) did not disclose their gender. The best-known preexisting WSI applications included Mainzer Histo Maps (199/216, 92.1%), Histoweb Tübingen (16/216, 7.4%), and Histonet Ulm (8/216, 3.7%). Desired features for the students were latitude in the slides (190/216, 88.0%), histological (191/216, 88.4%) and pathological (186/216, 86.1%) annotations, points of interest (181/216, 83.8%), background information (146/216, 67.6%), and auxiliary informational texts (113/216, 52.3%). By contrast, a discussion forum was far less important (9/216, 4.2%) for the students. Conclusions: The survey revealed that the students appreciate a rich feature set, including WSI functionality, points of interest, auxiliary informational texts, and annotations. The development of Pate was significantly influenced by the findings of the survey. Although Pate currently has some issues with the Zoomify file format, it could be shown that Web technologies are capable of providing a high-performance WSI experience, as well as a rich feature set.

  • Illustrative pictures of the SintromacWeb software. In patient’s personal area (panel A), current medication schedule is available; INR results are introduced and sent to health care center. In physician’s area (panel B), the hematologist analyzes the data and introduces new medication schedule for patient.

    Effective and Safe Management of Oral Anticoagulation Therapy in Patients Who Use the Internet-Accessed Telecontrol Tool SintromacWeb


    Background: Despite the existing evidence that highlights the benefits of oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT) self-testing and self-management by patients in comparison with conventional control, significant progress is still needed in the implementation of computer-based, Internet-assisted systems for OAT within health care centers. The telecontrol tool “SintromacWeb” is a previously validated system for OAT management at home, which is currently operative and accessed by patients through a hospital Web portal. Objective: The intent of the study was to assess the effectiveness and safety of OAT management in patients using the SintromacWeb telecontrol system in reference to control in patients using the conventional system (management at the hematology department), in terms of time in therapeutic range (TTR) of International Normalized Ratio (INR). Methods: In this observational prospective study, patients were identified by their physician and divided in two groups according to the OAT management system that they were already using (conventional control or telecontrol with SintromacWeb). For 6 months, patients were required to visit the hematology department every time their physician considered it necessary according to usual clinical practice. Sociodemographic and clinical variables for the study were collected at first visit (baseline) and at those visits closest to 2, 4, and 6 months after first visit. Results: A total of 173 patients were evaluated, 87 with conventional control and 86 with telecontrol. Follow-up time was a median of 6.3 (range 5.2-8.1) months. The average time of OAT treatment prior to enrollment was 9.2 (SD 6.4) years. Patients in the telecontrol group tested their INR a median of 21 (range 4-22) days versus a median of 35 (range 14-45) days in patients in the conventional control group (P<.001). TTR in the telecontrol group was 107 (SD 37) days versus 94 (SD 37) days in the conventional control group (an increase of 12.6%; P=.02). In all visits, the percentage of TTR was higher in the telecontrol group (at the third visit: 59% vs 48%; P=.01). Higher TTR (positive coefficient) was associated with patients under OAT telecontrol (P=.03). Under-anticoagulation (INR<1.5) and over-anticoagulation (INR>5) were observed in 34 (19.7%, 34/173) and 38 (22.0%, 38/173) patients, respectively (no differences between treatment groups). Seven thrombotic and/or bleeding events were serious, 12 were non-serious, and most of them (5 and 10, respectively) occurred in the conventional control group. Conclusions: In clinical practice, OAT management with the Internet-based tool SintromacWeb is effective and safe for those patients who are eligible for OAT telecontrol.

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