Adapting an in-person patient-caregiver communication intervention to a tailored web-based format

Psychooncology. 2012 Mar;21(3):336-41. doi: 10.1002/pon.1900. Epub 2011 Jan 23.


Background: Interventions that target cancer patients and their caregivers have been shown to improve patient-caregiver communication, support, and emotional well-being.

Objective: To adapt an in-person communication intervention for cancer patients and caregivers to a web-based format, and to examine the usability and acceptability of the web-based program among representative users.

Methods: A tailored, interactive web-based communication program for cancer patients and their family caregivers was developed based on an existing in-person, nurse-delivered intervention. The development process involved: (1) building a multidisciplinary team of content and web design experts, (2) combining key components of the in-person intervention with the unique tailoring and interactive features of a web-based platform, and (3) conducting focus groups and usability testing to obtain feedback from representative program users at multiple time points.

Results: Four focus groups with 2-3 patient-caregiver pairs per group (n = 22 total participants) and two iterations of usability testing with four patient-caregiver pairs per session (n = 16 total participants) were conducted. Response to the program's structure, design, and content was favorable, even among users who were older or had limited computer and Internet experience. The program received high ratings for ease of use and overall usability (mean System Usability Score of 89.5 out of 100).

Conclusions: Many elements of a nurse-delivered patient-caregiver intervention can be successfully adapted to a web-based format. A multidisciplinary design team and an iterative evaluation process with representative users were instrumental in the development of a usable and well-received web-based program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Communication*
  • Computers*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*