Innovative e-health strategies are emerging, to tailor and provide convenient, systematic and high-quality survivorship care for an expanding cancer survivor population. This pilot study tests the application of an e-health platform, “Healthy.me,” in a breast cancer survivor cohort at Liverpool and Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centres, New South Wales, Australia.
Fifty breast cancer patients were recruited to use the Healthy.me website, designed by the Centre of Health Informatics at the University of New South Wales, over a 4-month period. Telephone and online questionnaires were used at 1 and 4 months and a face-to-face feedback at study completion, to gather qualitative and quantitative data regarding feasibility of Healthy.me.
Healthy.me was reported to be a useful online resource by most users. Usage declined from 76% at 1 month to 48% at 4 months. Breast cancer survivors enjoyed a variety of tailored information regarding health and life-style issues. Positive aspects of Healthy.me were the convenient access to trusted information, and interaction with their peers and healthcare professionals. Barriers to usage contributing to usage decline were lack of reported patient time to re-access information, limited content updates and technical factors.
This pilot study suggested the potential of an e-health strategy such as Healthy.me in addressing the needs of a growing breast cancer survivor population. Ongoing development of a more robust e-health resource and integration with primary care models is warranted.