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JMIR Cancer. 2017 Oct 31;3(2):e18. doi: 10.2196/cancer.7599.

Adherence to Report and Patient Perception of an Interactive App for Managing Symptoms During Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer: Descriptive Study of Logged and Interview Data.

Author information

1
Division of Nursing, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.
2
School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer experience symptoms related to both the cancer itself and its treatment, and it is evident that patients with prostate cancer have unmet supportive care needs related to their disease. Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the amount of research within the field of mobile health and the use of apps as tools for managing illness. The main challenge is to develop a mobile technology to its full potential of being interactive in real time. The interactive app Interaktor, which aims to identify and manage symptoms in real time includes (1) a function for patients' assessment of the occurrence, frequency, and distress of symptoms; (2) a connection to a monitoring Web interface; (3) a risk assessment model that sends alerts via text message to health care providers; (4) continuous access to evidence-based self-care advice and links to relevant websites for more information; and (5) graphs for the patients and health care providers to view the history of symptom reporting.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of the study was to investigate user behavior, adherence to reporting, and the patients' experiences of using Interaktor during radiotherapy for localized advanced prostate cancer.

METHODS:

The patients were instructed to report daily during the time of treatment and then for an additional 3 weeks. Logged data from patients' use of the app were analyzed with descriptive statistics. Interview data about experiences of using the app were analyzed with content analysis.

RESULTS:

A total of 66 patients participated in the study. Logged data showed that adherence to daily reporting of symptoms was high (87%). The patients used all the symptoms included in the app. Of the reports, 15.6% generated alerts to the health care providers. Overall, the patients found that it was easy and not particularly time-consuming to send a daily report, and many described it as becoming a routine. Reporting symptoms facilitated reflection on their symptoms and gave them a sense of security. Few technological problems were reported.

CONCLUSIONS:

The use of Interaktor increased patients' sense of security and their reflections on their own well-being and thereby served as a supportive tool for the self-management of symptoms during treatment of prostate cancer. Some further development of the app's content might be beneficial for future use.

KEYWORDS:

mHealth; mobile apps; prostate cancer; symptom assessment

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