Virtual navigation in colorectal cancer and melanoma: an exploration of patients' views

Support Care Cancer. 2013 Aug;21(8):2289-96. doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-1771-1. Epub 2013 Mar 22.


Purpose: Individuals with cancer frequently report significant gaps in information, support, and health care service navigation at diagnosis and in the survivorship phase. A comprehensive web-based tool called the Oncology Interactive Navigator™ (OIN) appears promising in addressing these gaps. The present qualitative inquiry explores the perceptions of individuals concerning the OIN™, as a complementary resource to support psychosocial adjustment to cancer and guide access to cancer care services.

Method: As part of a pilot multi-method multi-site study, 151 individuals newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer or melanoma were offered unrestricted access to the OIN™ for 8 weeks. Qualitative interviews were undertaken with a subset of participants (n = 20) to explore their experience with the tool. Interviews were digitally audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim.

Results: The OIN™ was reported to be instrumental in fulfilling participants' cancer information and supportive care needs, particularly early in the cancer trajectory. More specifically, the tool was seen as a "go to" resource to obtain more detailed information, validate information provided elsewhere, and pace exposure to cancer information. Content also was perceived to be of high quality, practical, and comprehensive. All participants underscored how the tool improved their cancer knowledge, facilitated communication, and prepared them for subsequent medical consultations.

Conclusion: Given the rapid proliferation of web-based tools of varying scope, quality, and relevance, the exploration of users' perspectives is key to informing the development, refinement, implementation, and sustainability of promising web-based tools such as the OIN™.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Services
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Melanoma / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Pilot Projects