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Health Services Research & Development

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HSR&D Citation Abstract

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Tarver WL, Robb BW, Haggstrom DA. Usefulness and Usability of a Personal Health Record and Survivorship Care Plan for Colorectal Cancer Survivors: Survey Study. JMIR cancer. 2019 Aug 20; 5(2):e10692.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: As a result of improvements in cancer screening, treatment, and supportive care, nearly two-thirds of individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) live for 5 years after diagnosis. An ever-increasing population of CRC survivors creates a need for effective survivorship care to help manage and mitigate the impact of CRC and its treatment. Personal health records (PHRs) and survivorship care plans provide a means of supporting the long-term care of cancer survivors. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to characterize the usefulness of a CRC PHR and survivorship care plan and to describe the usability of these technologies in a population of CRC survivors. To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess a PHR and survivorship care plan specifically targeting CRC survivors. METHODS: Twenty-two patients with CRC were recruited from surgery clinics of an academic medical center and Veterans Affairs hospital in Indianapolis and provided access to an online Colorectal Cancer Survivor''s Personal Health Record (CRCS-PHR). Survey data were collected to characterize the usefulness of the CRCS-PHR and describe its usability in a population of CRC survivors. CRC survivors were surveyed 6 months after being provided online access. Means and proportions were used to describe the usefulness and ease of using the CRC website. Open-ended questions were qualitatively coded using the constant comparative method. RESULTS: CRC survivors perceived features related to their health care (ie, summary of cancer treatment history, follow-up care schedule, description of side effects, and list of community resources) to be more useful than communication features (ie, creating online relationships with family members or caregivers, communicating with doctor, and secure messages). CRC survivors typically described utilizing traditional channels (eg, via telephone or in person) to communicate with their health care provider. Participants had overall positive perceptions with respect to ease of use and overall satisfaction. Major challenges experienced by participants included barriers to system log-in, lack of computer literacy or experience, and difficulty entering their patient information. CONCLUSIONS: For CRC, survivors may find the greater value in a PHR''s medical content than the communication functions, which they have available elsewhere. These findings regarding the usefulness and usability of a PHR for the management of CRC survivorship provide valuable insights into how best to tailor these technologies to patients'' needs. These findings can inform future design and development of PHRs for purposes of both cancer and chronic disease management.

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