Health professionals' experiences of the benefits and challenges of online symptom checkers

Sari Kujala*, Iiris Hörhammer, Riitta Hänninen-Ervasti, Tarja Heponiemi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
298 Downloads (Pure)


Online symptom checkers and assessment services are used by patients seeking guidance on health problems. In this study, the goal was to identify health professionals' experiences of the benefits and challenges of new symptom checkers providing triage advice. Data was collected through an online survey of 61 health professionals who were target users of the online symptom checkers implemented in six public health organizations and one private occupational health clinic. Most of the health professionals supported the use of online symptom checkers and found services useful to patients because they provided patients quick contact with health professionals and referral to care or self-management instructions regardless of time and place. Health professionals were less confident that most of the patients were capable and willing to use the symptom checkers. Health professionals were satisfied with symptom checkers providing them with more useful information before meeting patients. By contrast, symptom checkers were seen as disrupting clinical work and time-consuming. The results imply that the clinical work processes should be redesigned to guide patients in an efficient manner, avoid work overlap, and provide work motivation for professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Personalized Health and Medicine - Proceedings of MIE 2020
EditorsLouise B. Pape-Haugaard, Christian Lovis, Inge Cort Madsen, Patrick Weber, Per Hostrup Nielsen, Philip Scott
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781643680828
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventMedical Informatics Europe Conference - Online, Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 28 Apr 20201 May 2020
Conference number: 30

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
PublisherIOS PRESS
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


ConferenceMedical Informatics Europe Conference
Abbreviated titleMIE


  • Health professionals
  • Online symptom checkers
  • Triage advice


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