purpose: The primary goal of this study was to identify the needs for, the interest in, and the feasibility of the implementation of an Internet-based cancer services web site. Additionally, group differences (racial, patient vs caregiver, or rural vs urban) were identified that might influence the implementation of such a project.
description of study: Patients with cancer and caregivers (N = 319) in the waiting rooms of a cancer center located within a southeastern medical university completed questionnaires regarding their interest in Internet-based services. Topics included the likelihood of using Internet-based services, interest in home healthcare services delivered via a personal computer, and knowledge about and use of the Internet.
results: Results indicated that most patient and caregiver respondents were interested in Internet-based cancer-related services such as information related to treatment (80%), conversations with physicians via the Internet (70%), and online support groups (65%). In addition, respondents reported that they would be likely to use such services (70%) and were interested in home healthcare services delivered via personal computers (60%). No group differences were found across ethnic groups, geographic settings, and patient status (patient vs caregivers) on these variables. Minorities, older individuals, and less educated individuals were less likely to have knowledge of and to have used the Internet.
clinical implications: Patients with cancer and their caregivers are interested in supplementing in-person services with Internet-based services relating to their cancer treatment. Special efforts need to be made to reach ethnic minorities, the elderly, and those with less education with Internet-based programs.