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Internet-Based Intervention to Promote Organ Donor Registry Participation and Family Notification

Publication Abstract

Merion, R.M., A.D. Vinokur, Mick P. Couper, E.G. Jones, Y.H. Dong, M. Wimsatt, J. Warren, and S. Katz. 2003. "Internet-Based Intervention to Promote Organ Donor Registry Participation and Family Notification." Transplantation, 75(8): 1175-1179.

Background. Little is known regarding the potential of Internet-based educational interventions to increase organ donor registry participation and family notification of donation wishes. We studied the effects of an Internet-based multimedia intervention (www.journey.transweb.org) on donor registry participation and family notification. Methods. Visitors to a specially designed web site were studied between December 14, 2000, and March 31, 2002. Demographic characteristics were requested, and a pretest was administered to one half of the participants (selected randomly) before web site content exposure. All visitors were offered a posttest. Eight knowledge questions (true/false), three attitude questions (7-point scale), and three behaviors (yes/no) were assessed. Results. A total of 10,884 visitors provided demographic data. Correct answers to knowledge questions increased from 85.1% to 87.0% overall (pretest vs. posttest; P<0.001) and from 80.6% to 82.0% for teenagers (P<0.001). Willingness to donate increased (scores of 6.34 vs. 6.39; P<0.001), as did willingness to join a donor registry (scores of 5.53 vs. 5.67; P<0.001). Willingness measures were less positive among teenagers but increased significantly after exposure to the intervention. Almost 10% of visitors directly linked to an online registry and 2,489 (23%) used the web site facilities to communicate donation wishes. Increases in knowledge were not associated with changes in attitudes, but an increase in pro-donation attitude was a significant predictor of donor registry participation (P<0.001). Conclusions. Increases in donation attitudes among visitors to an organ donation web site resulted in positive behaviors, such as enrollment in a donor registry and family notification. Future efforts should focus on using Internet-based interventions to improve attitudes toward donation and to facilitate pro-donation behaviors.

DOI:10.1097/01.TP.0000062845.51042.DD (Full Text)

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