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Use of mobile devices to help cancer patients meet their information needs in non-inpatient settings: systematic review

Richards, Rebecca, Kinnersley, Paul, Brain, Kate ORCID:, McCutchan, Grace ORCID:, Staffurth, John ORCID: and Wood, Fiona ORCID: 2018. Use of mobile devices to help cancer patients meet their information needs in non-inpatient settings: systematic review. JMIR mHealth and uHealth 6 (12) , e10026. 10.2196/10026

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Background: The shift from inpatient to outpatient cancer care means that patients are now required to manage their condition at home, away from regular supervision by clinicians. Subsequently, research has consistently reported that many patients with cancer have unmet information needs during their illness. Mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablet computers, provide an opportunity to deliver information to patients remotely. To date, no systematic reviews have evaluated how mobile devices have been used specifically to help patients meet to their information needs. Objective: A systematic review was conducted to identify studies that describe the use of mobile interventions to enable patients with cancer to meet their cancer-related information needs in non-inpatient settings, and to describe the effects and feasibility of these interventions. Methods: MEDLINE EMBASE and PsychINFO databases were searched up until January 2017. Search terms related to ‘mobile devices’, ‘information needs’ and ‘cancer’. There were no restrictions on study type in order to be as inclusive as possible. Study participants were patients with cancer undergoing treatment. Interventions had to be delivered by a mobile or handheld device, attempt to meet patients’ cancer-related information needs, and be for use in non-inpatient settings. Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklists were used to assess the methodological quality of included studies. A narrative synthesis was performed and findings were organised by common themes found across studies. Results: The initial search yielded 1020 results. Twenty-three articles describing 20 studies were included. Interventions aimed to improve the monitoring and management of treatment-related symptoms (n=17, 85%), directly increase patients’ knowledge related to their condition (n=2, 10%) and improve communication of symptoms to clinicians in consultations (n=1, 5%). Studies were of adult (n=17; age range 24-87 years) and adolescent (n=3; age range 8-18 years) patients. Sample sizes ranged from 4-125, with 13 studies consisting of 25 participants or less. Most studies were conducted in the UK (n=12, 52%) or US (n=7, 30%). Of the 23 articles included, twelve were of medium quality, nine were of poor quality and two were of good quality. Overall, interventions were reported to be acceptable and were perceived as useful and easy to use. Few technical problems were encountered. Adherence was generally consistent and high (periods ranged from 5 days to 6 months), however there was considerable variation in use of intervention components within and between studies. Reported benefits of the interventions included improved symptom management, patient empowerment and improved clinician-patient communication, although mixed findings were reported for patients’ health-related quality of life and anxiety. Conclusions: The current review highlighted that mobile interventions for patients with cancer are only meeting treatment or symptom-related information needs. There were no interventions designed to meet patients’ full range of cancer-related information needs, from information on psychological support to how to manage finances during cancer, and the long-term effects of treatment. More comprehensive interventions are required for patients to meet their information needs when managing their condition in non-inpatient settings. Controlled evaluations are needed to further determine the effectiveness of these types of intervention.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Publisher: JMIR Publications
ISSN: 2291-5222
Funders: Tenovus the Cancer Charity
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 July 2018
Date of Acceptance: 10 July 2018
Last Modified: 26 May 2023 23:06

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