Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

School

School of Computer and Information Science

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Leisa Armstrong

Abstract

The aim of this research was to investigate, from an Australian healthcare practitioners' perspective, whether online and e-health applications could provide support for and be beneficial to overweight and obese adolescents. This research has investigated whether diet and exercise related environmental causes of obesity could be positively affected by using e-health applications to re-educate adolescents about healthy eating and exercise behaviours the research identified what online and electronic resources healthcare practitioners' recommended to their patients, in order to understand how information systems· solutions could better assist these patients in achieving healthier lifestyle outcomes. Additionally, the research investigated what content, features and functionality healthcare practitioners' believed should be incorporated into future e-health initiatives. The research was exploratory in design and attempted to identify future research projects. The research targeted healthcare practitioners who made their contact details publicly available via the Internet, including the online Yellow Pages, and those that routinely treat overweight and obese adolescents. The research had a multidisciplinary approach as practitioners from numerous professions were identified as potential respondents, they included: Aboriginal health experts, cardiologists, child health experts, dietitians, exercise physiologists, general practitioners, health promotion researchers, homeopaths, medical practitioners, naturopaths, nutritionists, nurses, obesity experts, paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and sports dietitians. The attitude data of these healthcare practitioners is considered to be useful and relevant in regards to the future development of information systems and in designing appropriate resources for patients. Hence, the research was information systems (IS) based, and a survey was selected as the overarching research methodology upon which to conduct this investigation. The theoretical contribution of this research is in the extension of theory relating to the use of electronic support information as it is perceived by Australian healthcare practitioners. Further, this research highlights healthcare practitioners' attitudes towards, and adoption of current e-health technology. These are significant issues given the rapid growth of e-health information on the Internet and patients growing demand for these resources to be made widely available.

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