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Support Care Cancer. 2003 May;11(5):286-93. Epub 2003 Mar 27.

Information and communication technology (ICT) in oncology. Patients' and relatives' experiences and suggestions.

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Department of Oncology, University Hospital of North Norway, P.O. Box 13, 9038 Tromsø, Norway.


Cancer patients and relatives worldwide are turning more and more to the internet to obtain health information. The goal of this survey was to clarify their experiences and suggestions on the implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) in oncology. A total of 127 patients and 60 relatives visiting the outpatient clinic at the Department of Oncology, University of North Norway (UNN), the regional office of the Norwegian Cancer Union (NCU) and the Montebello Centre were included in a questionnaire-based study. Participants were recruited during the period September 2001 to February 2002. There were 92 women and 95 men. We revealed that hospital doctors, followed by nurses and friends, were the most important informants. Two-thirds of patients and relatives had access to the internet, but fewer than one-third had searched the internet for medical information and only one-fifth had discussed information accessed with their doctor. Only one-tenth had visited a hospital website. Internet access was correlated with young age. Almost two-thirds suggested that e-mail and/or WAP (wireless application protocol) communication should be included in hospital-patient communication. Concerning hospital websites, waiting time, treatment offer and addresses were considered the top three topics of interest. In conclusion, the majority of cancer patients and relatives have access to the internet. They recommend ICT employed in patient-hospital communication and suggest waiting time, treatment offers and addresses the three most important topics on hospital websites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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