Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Allergy Unit

Student research

In-Depth Interviews for the Evaluation of Existing Web- Based Nutrition Analysis Applications to Guide the Development of WeNDI (Web-Based Nutrition & Dietary Intake) for the RPAH Allergy Unit

Candice Bergamin
Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics), Charles Sturt University
Supervisors: Anne Swain, Gabrielle O'Kane
August 2007

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Aims: To determine the attitude of patients at RPAH Allergy Clinic to using a computer to enter their diet record, and to gather information about the patient’s experience using different internet diet record programs in order to assist the development of an internet based diet record and analysis program suitable for use in the Allergy Clinic as well as other dietetic applications.

Methods: Participants were randomly approached and recruited from the waiting room of the Allergy Clinic to participate in the interview on the same day. Participants trialled two web-based diet record programs, Calorie King (CK) and Formula for Life (FFL), and an in-depth interview was conducted to discuss the participants’ opinions of the programs and their attitude to the use of web-based diet analysis programs. Each interview was recorded and transcribed. A coding frame was developed and the data was coded manually and analysed using thematic and content analysis techniques.

Results: A total of 15 in-depth interviews were conducted. Most participants were enthusiastic about the programs, particularly the nutritional feedback. A number of issues were raised by the discussion, including the level of difficulty of the program, computer literacy of the participant, the use of the search functions to find foods, the ability to access dietetic input from home, the benefits of instant nutritional feedback, and features to make food entry more efficient.

Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that many patients of the RPAH Allergy Unit would like to use a web-based program to keep their food record. The issues raised by the participants in the study may assist in the development of a program that is effective and user-friendly.