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Previous research has shown that web-based symptom monitoring as well as self-management interventions can be effective to reduce symptom burden and improve health-related quality of life (HRQOL). However, most of the previous studies targeted cancer patients during or shortly after treatment, included most often cancer-generic symptoms but less often tumor-specific symptoms, and most interventions comprised behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) to be part of routine care, as adjunctive or guided BITs.
We developed the fully automated BIT ‘Oncokompas’. Oncokompas supports cancer survivors in self-management, by monitoring symptoms (cancer generic and tumor-specific), providing feedback and information on their scores as well as a personalized overview of supportive care options, with the aim to reduce symptom burden and improve HRQOL. According to participatory design principles, several studies were conducted to investigate the needs of patients and healthcare professionals, and feasibility of Oncokompas.
To ensure optimal customization of Oncokompas to the preferences and needs of the end-user (cancer patient) and other stakeholders (e.g. care providers), the application was developed through a development cycle. This cycle consisted of three phases: designing the actual program, testing its usability, and an outcome– and effect evaluation. We expected that developing Oncokompas through this development cycle will have a positive influence on the frequency of use, the understandability of Oncokompas, and the probability that users will actually comply with the recommendations they receive.
The first step of the development cycle included a needs assessment with both patients and health care providers. This needs assessment has been carried out and consisted of interviews with patients and health care providers to identify their needs (preferences and demands) towards e-health applications in general, and Oncokompas in particular, within the supportive care phase. Also, a quantitative needs assessment was conducted. This quantitative assessment was directed towards gaining insight into the wishes and demands of cancer patients...