The advent of Internet-based information systems has provided unprecedented opportunity for the widespread access to medical information. However, issues related to the evaluation of such systems to ensure their usability, effectiveness and to assess their effect on the provider-patient relationship pose a considerable challenge. This paper describes a framework for the distance evaluation of web-based information technologies. The methods are described in the context of an ongoing evaluation of a system known as PatCIS, designed to be accessed by patients from home for obtaining health information, and for management of chronic diseases. We employ a multi-method approach that involves collection of a rich data set, including Web-based questionnaires, automatic logging of user activity and e-mail communication with users. Our work in evaluation design is influenced from research in the areas of cognitive science and the field of usability engineering which aims to characterize the interaction of users with information technologies.