Objective: To identify general practitioners’ (GPs) barriers and facilitators regarding the use of health information technology (HIT) in the treatment of patients with low back pain (LBP). Design: A qualitative study employing a participatory design approach, with an inductive analytical thematic approach utilising semi-structured interviews. Empirical data was analysed using the qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) Nvivo. Setting: General practices in Denmark. Subjects: Eight interviews were conducted with an average duration of 60 min. The interviewees were GPs from different geographical settings and different organisational structures, varying in age and professional interests. Main outcome measures: Barriers and facilitators for future use of the HIT application for patients with LBP. Results: Through the inclusion of healthcare professionals in the design process, this study found that in order for GPs to recommend a HIT application it is essential to target the application towards their patients. Furthermore, GPs required that the HIT application should support patient self-management. Additionally, the content of the HIT application should support the initiated treatment and it should be easy for GPs to recommend the HIT application. Finally, healthcare professionals need to be involved in the design process. Conclusion: When designing health IT applications for patients with LBP in general practice it is important to include both patients and GPs in the design process. GPs would be more willing to recommend a HIT application that: applies content in line with frequently used recommendations; targets patients; supports patients’ self-management; and supports the patients’ needs.KEY POINTS Online information is currently applied in general practice to some patients with low back pain Online information cannot replace the GP, but can rather be a bonding tool between the patient and the GP It is important to address both GP and patient barriers to applying new technology and to consider the literacy level Participatory methods could play a central role in the future development of online information material.