Exploring supportive care and information needs through a proposed eHealth application among melanoma patients undergoing systemic therapy: a qualitative study

Support Care Cancer. 2022 Sep;30(9):7249-7260. doi: 10.1007/s00520-022-07133-z. Epub 2022 May 19.

Abstract

Background: During and after systemic therapy, patients with high risk and advanced melanoma experience challenges regarding cancer-related symptoms, treatment-related adverse events, and an impact of these symptoms on their physical and psychosocial well-being. Few studies have investigated the specific needs of these patients and the potential role of eHealth applications in meeting those needs.

Objective: To explore the supportive care and information needs of high risk and advanced melanoma patients, and how these needs can be supported by eHealth applications.

Methods: In this qualitative study, semi-structured interviews with high risk and advanced melanoma patients during or after systemic treatment were conducted to understand their needs and requirements as possible end-users of mobile eHealth applications. Interview transcripts were independently coded and thematically analyzed.

Results: Thirteen participants consented to be interviewed, aged 31 to 71 years. Nearly all patients (n = 12, 92%) experienced unmet information and supportive care needs during and after active treatment. Patients expected to value eHealth applications that facilitate information gathering, wellbeing interventions, and symptom management. The majority of patients (n = 10, 77%) anticipated various advantages from using an eHealth application, including increased autonomy, higher quality of life, and improved disease self-management.

Discussion: High risk and advanced melanoma patients have unmet supportive care and information needs during and after systemic treatment. The use of eHealth applications might be an effective way to meet these unmet needs. Patients anticipate a variety of advantages from using these applications, including deriving various benefits from the use of these applications, such as enhanced autonomy.

Keywords: Immunotherapy; Intervention development; Melanoma; Patient education; Qualitative methods; Self-management; eHealth.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Melanoma* / therapy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Self-Management* / psychology
  • Telemedicine*