Reliable information can improve patients’ knowledge of chemotherapy. As internet chemotherapy information (ICI) is increasingly viewed as a valuable patient education tool, we investigated the impact of ICI on patient care and analysed health professionals’ (HPs’) attitudes towards ICI.
The following questionnaires were distributed: (1) self-administered questionnaire randomly given to 261 patients receiving chemotherapy (80% returned); and (2) separate questionnaire given to 58 HPs at the same UK Oncology Centre (83% returned).
Just over half of the patient respondents accessed the internet regularly. They were younger, with higher incomes and qualifications. Key search topics included chemotherapy modes of action, symptom management and treatment success, and most considered ICI useful. More than half wanted to discuss ICI with HPs but most did not get the opportunity. Although the majority of HP respondents supported the need for patients to retrieve ICI, most questioned the accuracy of ICI and did not routinely recommend its use.
This study has shown that ICI is generally perceived by patients to be a valuable information resource. Given the potential impact of ICI, the following should be addressed in future studies: (1) inequalities in accessing ICI; (2) maintaining the quality of ICI (with clear guidance on recommended websites); (3) bridging the gap between the perception of ICI by patients and HPs; (4) integration of ICI with traditional consultation models.
Davies E, Yeoh K-W. Internet chemotherapy information: impact on patients and health professionals. Br J Cancer. 2012 Feb 14;106(4):651–7.