Factors influencing sustainability of online platforms for professionals: a mixed-method study in OECD countries

Kathelijne Maria Hubertus Hubertus Bessems*, Venka Simovska, Marion Daniëlle Driessen Willems, Monica Carlsson, And Nanne K de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Online platforms can support health and educational professionals in their daily work; however, it is challenging to keep online platforms sustainable. This paper aims to indicate the most important factors of platform sustainability from the perspective of professionals involved in online platforms. Further, it aims to understand how these factors operate. A mixed methods study was carried out among professionals from Europe, Australia, the USA and Canada. In the first phase, the importance of 54 factors from the literature was assessed with a questionnaire among 17 professionals. The relative importance of the factors and the consensus regarding this importance were calculated using median scores and interquartile deviations. In total, 19 factors were selected representing general characteristics, characteristics related to the platform, communication, visitor and context. In the second phase, insight was gained regarding the experiences with those factors through 12 individual Skype interviews. The most frequently mentioned important factors of platform sustainability were (i) having sufficient time, resources and expertise, (ii) user friendliness and (iii) creating a sense of belonging. Platforms should use a planned approach to address a combination of factors directly from platform development. Gaining long-term resources is challenging and should be considered from the start of a project by building partnerships. To promote user friendliness, platforms should be simple, have a clear set-up and provide high-quality tools. Finally, establishing a sense of belonging could be supported by branding and face-to-face networking activities. For all aspects, involving visitors and stakeholders is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdaab063
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number1
Early online date3 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022


  • health promoting schools
  • online platform
  • professional
  • sustainability


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