Individual Care plans should be a co-creation between the patient and the health care provider, and should be updated by the contact nurse (CN) that is the patients’ main point of contact. Until recently the individual care plans for patients with Head & Neck cancer (H&N) in our region constituted of extensive written information in a ring binder and in addition a treatment plan from the medical records were printed and given to the patient. This quality improvement project aims to implement a digital and interactive version of the care plan, with a greater possibility to tailor information and increased availability. The implementation process contained of both the introduction of the digital tool (the care plan) and also new work processes for the nurses.
We followed the Plan Do Study Act approach. A clinical nurse leader together with the designer of the and an IT-technician worked together with the preparations (education, testing and risk assessment). All patients with H&N cancer could choose a standard care plan or the new digital format. The digital care plan was prepared by the CN. A person-centered approach was adopted for the digital care plans, with mandatory questions at the first visit with the CN; “What is important to you? - What is important that I know about you?”.
30 % of chose the digital version of the individual care plan (n = 45) (patients were asked to choose either printed or digital). Patients and nurses were asked to give feedback on the content, usefulness and to suggest improvements. The first evaluation from the patients suggests improved patient participation and satisfaction. The CN stated that the digital care plan had advantages such as less time consuming, improved communication with the patients and supporting person-centered care. The patients can interact with the CN and may also use different symptom assessment scales and were involved during the whole implementation phase.
There is a potential for increased use of screening tools and systematic assessment of symptoms with the digital version of the IWCP. The mandatory question gave important information to the CN to consider. A designated nurse leader involved in the process is important during the implementation.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Regional Cancer Center Stockholm Gotland.
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.