Mixed-methods evaluation of a novel online STI results service.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

Evidence on optimal methods for providing STI test results is lacking. We evaluated an online results service, developed as part of an eSexual Health Clinic (eSHC).

METHODS

We evaluated the online results service using a mixed-methods approach within large exploratory studies of the eSHC. Participants were chlamydia- positive and negative users of online postal self-sampling services in six National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) areas and chlamydia-positive patients from two genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics between 21 July 2014 and 13 March 2015. Participants received a discreetly worded National Health Service 'NHS no-reply' text message (SMS) informing them that their test results were ready and providing a weblink to a secure website. Participants logged in with their date of birth and mobile telephone or clinic number. Chlamydia-positive patients were offered online management. All interactions with the eSHC system were automatically logged and their timing recorded. Post-treatment, a service evaluation survey (n=152) and qualitative interviews (n=36) were conducted by telephone. Chlamydia-negative patients were offered a short online survey (n=274). Data were integrated.

RESULTS

92% (134/146) of NCSP chlamydia-positive patients, 82% (161/197) of GUM chlamydia-positive patients and 89% (1776/1997) of NCSP chlamydia-negative participants accessed test results within 7 days. 91% of chlamydia-positive patients were happy with the results service; 64% of those who had tested previously found the results service better or much better than previous experiences. 90% of chlamydia-negative survey participants agreed they would be happy to receive results this way in the future. Interviewees described accessing results with ease and appreciated the privacy and control the two-step process gave them.

CONCLUSION

A discreet SMS to alert users/patients that results are available, followed by provision of results via a secure website, was highly acceptable, irrespective of test result and testing history. The eSHC results service afforded users privacy and control over when they viewed results without compromising access.

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