Development of a digital patient navigation application: Preliminary results from patient interviews.
161 Background: People living with cancer face challenges too numerous to attend to during brief clinic visits, and thus may benefit from additional help with supportive care needs. While patient navigators offer promise, they are a limited resource. Digital navigation offers a scalable solution, to extend navigators’ reach and connect patients with existing resources, thereby enhancing our ability to address unmet needs. Methods: Utilizing a “design thinking” approach, we developed and tested a digital navigation platform to enhance utilization of support resources in the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI). The alpha version of the application (app) was based upon insights gleaned from interactions with patients, caregivers, advisory board members, and staff. It was then tested among adult patients with advanced cancer at the DCI. Subjects participated in qualitative interviews with design/content experts, to elicit supportive care needs and gauge interest in utilizing the app to improve their care experiences. Detailed notes were taken, and emerging themes compiled. Results: We enrolled 10 patients and caregivers. Subjects reported feeling overwhelmed by information, feeling that “they don’t know where to start when looking for support.” They also expressed uncertainty about what questions to ask, and said they are not always comfortable asking for help. All struggled to define “supportive care;” only one knew it refers to a set of services. Subjects felt a digital navigation app would enable them to explore and access services as needed, to help them “feel less alone,” and to know “someone or something was there for them.” They expressed dislike for being asked lots of questions, wanting to explore options on their own instead of being led somewhere. Digital navigation has the promise to increase their sense of control, with one subject noting: “I like to know what my options are and decide for myself…people try to assume they know what you need all the time.” Conclusions: Digital supportive care navigation may be an effective, scalable, and cost-efficient intervention to support patients and caregivers, and ultimately improve outcomes. Further refinement and testing of this approach is needed.
LeBlanc, TW; Herring, K; Chilcott, J; Bletcher, K; Osaka, M; Manassei, H; Pendergraft, T; Corbett, C; Zafar, Y; Higgins, A; Patierno, SR
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