Patients with cancer are bombarded with information – both in connection with examinations, diagnosis and treatment. Patients cannot always cope with the huge quantity of oral and written information from the hospital. Even highly educated patients voice their inability to take in the amount of given information. Reading skills and the ability to understand are often not taken into account. Furthermore 15-20 % of the normal population is known to be weak readers. The use of mobile technology in health care has shown a fortified self care and improved quality of life. Therefore, we aimed at developing an app which could serve several purposes: Opportunity to use different sources of information, information at the right time and the right place, information "on the go", the text read out loud (or earphones) and information to relatives and friends – no matter where they live.
The text from our written information was adjusted to the electronic media. The new text has been commented by patients, relatives and health care personnel. Finally, the text can be read out loud with a tap on the loudspeaker icon. There are 2 apps, which can be downloaded for free (Google play and App Store) App 1 is a general guide with focus on the most asked questions in relation to cancer, chemotherapy and targeted treatment - e.g: Does the treatment influence other people? How can my disease affect my relatives? What will I tell my children? Can I go on holiday? What about work? Can I drink alcohol? Can I be physically active? What about alternative treatment? App 2 describes 16 possible side effects separately and guides the patients and relatives in relation to preventing and minimizing the discomfort.
Some patients prefer the apps to the traditional written information. They download to both mobile phone and tablet. They find it very manageable and easy to navigate, and the text short and straight forward. The apps are an extra source of information for some patients, and they recommend the apps to family, friends and other patients. If patients find the oral and written information satisfying, they do not use the apps. The technology can be a barrier especially with older patients.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.
Has not received any funding.
The author has declared no conflicts of interest.