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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • Internet;
  • patient follow-up;
  • patient information;
  • perceived usefulness;
  • ease of use

BARTLETT Y.K., SELBY D.L., NEWSHAM A., KEDING A., FORMAN D., BROWN J., VELIKOVA G. & WRIGHT P. (2012) European Journal of Cancer Care

Developing a useful, user-friendly website for cancer patient follow-up: users' perspectives on ease of access and usefulness

UK cancer survival has improved, leading to an increase in review patients and pressure on clinics. Use of the Internet for information exchange between patients and healthcare staff may provide a useful adjunct or alternative to traditional follow-up. This study aimed to develop and evaluate a website for use in follow-up cancer care in terms of usability, feasibility and acceptability. A website was developed and underwent iterative amendment following patient usability testing in focus groups. Patients on follow-up completed a Computer and Internet Usage Questionnaire. Internet users consented to a randomised crossover study to complete paper and online questionnaires, browse the website and participate in a website evaluation interview. Patient website use was tracked. Usability: Website changes were made following patient testing (n= 21). Patients would have liked a ‘personalized’ website with links to their clinical team, out with the scope of this study. Feasibility: The majority of participants (65%) had Internet access. Age remained a differentiating factor. Acceptability: Final evaluation (n= 103) was positive although many would like to maintain face-to-face hospital contact. User involvement in website design can ensure patient needs are met. A website model for follow-up will suit some patients but others will prefer clinical contact.