The arrival of the Internet contributes to the growth of new areas for patient empowerment. In the presence of a challenge such as this, we nevertheless note that the adequacy and characteristics of the web strategies of healthcare providers have, up to the present, not been subjected to thoroughgoing critical analysis. The aim of this paper is to: (a) provide an analysis of the key factors of an efficient web strategy for healthcare organizations with regard to the issue of patient empowerment (b) build a concise indicator for measuring the degree of empowerment potential of healthcare providers' web sites (Patient Web Empowerment Index -PWEI-). PWEI was calculated in order to assess the web sites of 340 Italian National Health Service healthcare organizations, the aim being the appraisal of the current degree of maturity of their web strategies in relation to potentials for an effective increase in patient empowerment.
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