a health care worker and a patient communicate using the internet

WebChoice 2.0

Effects of Internet Support for Cancer Patients on Health Outcomes, Health Care Utilization and Costs.

Funding

The South-East Regional Health Authority of Norway (grant number: 2009051)

Summary

Cancer patients suffer frequently from multiple symptoms, problems and worries while at home between and after treatments, but do often not receive adequate help within the traditional health care system. Internet-based support has shown to be effective in supporting patients in managing their illness, and may reduce health care costs. 

This interdisciplinary, international research collaboration that includes HELFO, tested and compared in a 3-group RCT the effects of 1) a patient-provider communication (OPPC) service, 2) the OPPC + support features of an Internet-support system called WebChoice, and 3) usual care. 200 patients with breast cancer were randomized into 2 experimental and 1 control groups and followed with 5 repeated measures over 1 year.

We hypothesize that patients in Experimental group 2 (E2) with access to OPPC + other support features of WebChoice will achieve significantly better outcomes than patients in E1 (OPPC only) who in turn will achieve better outcomes than the usual care control group. Primary study outcomes are: severity and duration of symptom distress, anxiety, depression; health-related quality of life, and satisfaction with care; secondary outcomes are: self-efficacy, social support, knowledge about and use of recommended symptom self-management strategies. We will also investigate relationships between primary and secondary outcomes; effects on health care utilization and costs, including a cost-effectiveness analysis of OPPC and WebChoice; and patients and care providers use, perceived usefulness and ease of use. Mixed methods, correlations and descriptive statistics will be used for analyses.

This RCT, unique in its collaboration among health and social services, contributes to innovative technologies to provide seamless access to health and social services, improve patient-provider communication, care quality and patient outcomes. If effective, the interventions can have immediate and broad applicability.