What defines a good website of a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology? A user survey

  • Günther A. RezniczekEmail author
  • Ziad Hilal
  • Alaa Helal
  • Sven Schiermeier
  • Clemens B. Tempfer
General Gynecology



The Internet has become a widely used source of healthcare information. Many Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology use their websites for public relations purposes. It is, however, unclear, what relevant stakeholders such as patients, relatives of patients, physicians, and medical students expect of an Obstetrics and Gynecology Department’s website. Therefore, we evaluated the opinions and expectations of the various stakeholders using a structured questionnaire.


We asked gynecologic patients, obstetric patients, relatives of patients, medical students, and physicians to fill in an anonymous questionnaire consisting of general facts about the informant, one open-ended question on expectations and wishes regarding the website, and 28 rating scale questions (7-step visual analog scale ranging from, not important’ to, very important’) covering the topics “website navigation” (4 questions), “first contact” (3 questions), “clinic processes” (7 questions), “facts and figures about the Department” (4 questions), “visual impressions” (5 questions), and “obstetrics-specific items” (5 questions). Questionnaires for physicians included four additional questions about the value of Department websites as an information tool for themselves and their patients. We used descriptive statistics to analyze the data.


1458 questionnaires were analyzed (gynecologic patients, n = 615 [42%]; obstetric patients, n = 479 [33%]; relatives of patients, n = 77 [5%]; medical students n = 238 [16%]; physicians, n = 41 [3%]). The number of circulated questionnaires was not recorded and thus, the response rate is unknown. 1304 (89%) respondents used the Internet as a regular source of health care information, 642 (44%) had previously searched an Obstetrics and Gynecology Department website. All respondents rated contact data and information about processes in the clinic highest; whereas, other issues such as medical facts, visual impressions, and website design issues were significantly less important. Pregnant women rated contact information and obstetric facts highest. 90% of physicians regularly used Department websites for patient referrals and rated contact information and medical team details most important.


When designing a website of an Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, contact information and information about processes in the clinic should be displayed most prominently and be easily accessible. Subsections specifically targeted at obstetric patients and physicians should be provided.


Content Design Obstetrics and Gynecology Quality Website World Wide Web 


Author contribution

GA Rezniczek: Protocol Development, Data Analysis, Manuscript Writing. Z Hilal: Data Collection, Manuscript Writing. A Helal: Data Management, Manuscript Editing. S Schiermeier: Data Collection, Manuscript Editing. CB Tempfer: Protocol Development, Data Collection, Manuscript Writing.


The study was funded by the authors’ institutional funds.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Formal approval from the local Ethics Committee of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum was sought but not deemed necessary for this study.

Data availability

Original data generated and analyzed during this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Supplementary material

404_2019_5051_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (762 kb)
Horizontal box plots showing the scores given by all respondents (overall, black) as well as individual stakeholder groups (see legend with color code below the figure) for the rating scale questions of the survey (see Table 1 for details; scale 1 to 7: 1, not important; 7, very important). The boundaries of the boxes indicate the 25th/75th percentiles, solid lines within the boxes mark the medians, and dotted lines mark the means. Whiskers indicate the 10th and 90th percentiles. (PDF 761 kb)
404_2019_5051_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (1.1 mb)
Word clouds showing the relative frequencies of terms extracted from the open-ended question (“What kind of information do you expect from a website of a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology? Name anything that comes to your mind.”), using a square-root scale, overall and for the individual stakeholder groups (scales across groups are not normalized). (PDF 1140 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyRuhr-Universität Bochum – Marien Hospital HerneHerneGermany
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Witten/Herdecke, Marien Hospital WittenWittenGermany

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