221571 Evaluating a self-navigated, computer-based toolkit for hematological cancer patients, caregivers, and family / friends

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Douglas Rupert, MPH , Health Communication Program, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Cindy Soloe, MPH , Health Promotion Research, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Erika Willacy, MPH , Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Tania Fitzgerald, BA , Health Communication Program, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
David Driscoll, PhD, MPH , Institute for Crcumpolar Health Studies, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
W. Alexander Orr, MPH , Public Health and Epidemiology, Abt Associates, Bethesda, MD
Background: Hematological cancers—leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma—comprise 8% of newly diagnosed cancers in the U.S. Formative research identified the information needs of three key audiences (patients, caregivers, family/friends) and noted multiple barriers to meeting these needs. Specifically, information needs differ by audience and cancer phase; existing materials cover limited topics and have high reading levels; and individuals feel overwhelmed by clinical details.

Methods: To address these challenges, we developed a computer-based Blood Cancer Information Toolkit of educational materials and online resources. The toolkit utilized a low-literacy structure, linked to external resources, encouraged self-navigation, and customized topics by audience and cancer phase.

We disseminated the toolkit nationally through the American Cancer Society, the Wellness Community, and targeted advertisements, then conducted an online evaluation of its effectiveness (n=387). Participants used the toolkit in real-world settings, documented their activities, and assessed its value.

Results/Outcomes: Individuals from all audience segments, cancer types, and cancer phases actively used the toolkit. Family/friends were the most common audience, as were individuals in later cancer phases. Most participants accessed the toolkit on home computers, were highly satisfied with the topics and materials, found the toolkit easy to navigate, and rated materials extremely readable. Individuals were most likely to use the toolkit to learn about hematological cancers, discuss treatment options, and inform provider discussions.

Conclusions: The toolkit was effective in meeting audience information needs and overcame several barriers in existing materials. The toolkit's features and techniques offer a promising approach for serving diverse audiences in cancer education.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the evidence-based strategies used to create a computer-based toolkit of educational materials and online resources for three distinct audience segments. 2. Evaluate the toolkit’s ability to meet audience information needs and distill complex cancer topics, such as treatment options, long-term side effects, and end-of-life care. 3. Describe how individuals use computer-based toolkits in real-world settings and the advantages of employing such toolkits in cancer education.

Keywords: Cancer, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-led the evaluation of the toolkit being presented and was responsible for the study design and analysis of findings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.