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Roni Shtein, Paul Lee; Qualitative Analysis of Web-Based LASIK Information Sessions. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):4408.
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To assess the feasibility and the nature of web-based group discussions to obtain qualitative insights into health care issues and to enhance avenues of communications with patients and the public, particularly the types of information sought and received in this mode of communication.
Transcripts of five web-based information sessions provided by the Refractive Surgery Service at the Kellogg Eye Center from 2008-2012 were analyzed. The information sessions comprised of a corneal refractive surgeon and an ophthalmic technician available for an hour-long session of answering questions and interactive discussion in a web-based “chat” setting. Qualitative analysis methods, similar to those used for analysis of in-person focus groups, were used to evaluate the transcripts to assess for common themes.
The one-hour chat sessions had a range of 9 to 39 questions raised by the participants. The surgeon answered from 67-89% of the questions, and a refractive surgery technician answered the remaining 11-33%. Common themes that were raised in each of the web-based information sessions were: (1) the cost of surgery, (2) logistics of scheduling a screening evaluation and/or surgery, and (3) the characteristics of eligibility for surgery. Specific questions about eligibility included: age, presence of astigmatism, stability of refraction, and issues surrounding presbyopia. In almost all of the sessions, participants asked about details of surgical techniques and potential risks of surgery. In three of the five sessions, many of the questions were phrased in the first person and included personal experiences - in all of these cases, one of the 1st three questions of the session were phrased in this manner. In the remaining two sessions, almost all of the questions were phrased in the third person or as hypothetical situations.
Web-based discussion allows for dissemination of information to interested members of the public, in this instance about refractive surgery. Our qualitative analysis reveals several common themes that are consistently of interest to participants in this particular area. Further research is needed to understand the utility of this mode of communication in providing information to patients in other areas.
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