Utilisation of information technology (IT) in the treatment of people with severe mental health problems is an unknown area in Europe. Use of IT and guiding patients to relevant sources of health information requires that nursing staff have positive attitudes toward computers and accept IT use as a part of daily practises. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of the implementation of a web-based patient support system on staff’s attitudes towards computers and IT use on psychiatric wards. Hundred and forty-nine nurses in two psychiatric hospitals in Finland were randomised to two groups to deliver patient education for patients with schizophrenia and psychosis with a web-based system (n = 76) or leaflets (n = 73). After baseline nurses were followed-up for 18 months after the introduction of the system. The primary outcome was nurses’ motivation to utilise computers, and the secondary outcomes were nurses’ beliefs in and satisfaction with computers, and use of computer and internet. There were no statistically significant differences between study groups in attitudes towards computers (motivation p = 0.936, beliefs p = 0.270, satisfaction p = 0.462) and internet use (p = 0.276). However, nurses’ general computer use (p = 0.029) increased more in the leaflet group than in the IT intervention group. We can conclude that IT has promise as an alternative method in patient education, as the implementation of the web-based patient support system in daily basis did not have a negative effect on nurses’ attitudes towards IT
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