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Is there evidence for effects of e-health for people confronted with cancer?

Slev, V.N., Mistiaen, P.J.M.L., Pasman, H.R.W., Verdonck-de Leeuw, I.M., Uden-Kraan, C.F. van, Francke, A.L. Is there evidence for effects of e-health for people confronted with cancer? Journal of Advanced Nursing: 2016, 72(suppl. 1) 98. Abstract. 5th European Nursing Congress: 'Caring for older people: how can we do the right things right?' 4-7 oktober 2016, Rotterdam.
Background: Cancer and its treatment have a great impact on patients’ and informal caregivers’ daily lives. Patients often combat physical and psychological problems and symptoms and informal caregivers often experience a high care burden. E-health is considered a potentially effective means to support patients and informal caregivers in managing the disease-related problems they face.
Introduction: E-health can be defined as ‘information provision about illness or health care and/or support for patients and/or informal caregivers, using the computer or related technologies’. Much research has been done on e-health in cancer care. Since several systematic reviews concerning effects of e-health interventions for cancer patients are already published, we decided to perform a metareview.
Aim and research questions: The aim of this presentation is to report on the status quo
regarding effects of e-health for cancer patients or their informal caregivers. The following
primary and secondary questions are addressed: 1) What evidence can be derived
from existing systematic reviews about the effects of e-health for patients with cancer
and/or their informal caregivers? 2) What specific types of e-health interventions for
patients with specific types of cancer and/or their informal caregivers are addressed in the
relevant systematic reviews?
Materials and Methods: A systematic metareview, i.e. a systematic review of reviews,
was performed. Searches were conducted in PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and
Cochrane Library, in March 2014. All steps in the review process and the methodological
quality assessment were either performed by two reviewers independently or checked by a
second reviewer.
Results: Ten systematic reviews, all describing effects of e-health for cancer patients, were
included. Focus on informal caregivers was lacking. Evidence was found for positive
effects on knowledge levels, information competence, and perceived support. For healthcare
participation and health status, indications of evidence were found. Regarding outcomes
related to decision-making, psychological wellbeing, depression and anxiety, and quality of
life, findings were inconsistent.
Conclusions: E-health has positive effects on, knowledge, information competence and perceived support of cancer patients. Therefore, nurses and other healthcare professionals
could promote the use of e-health in this patient group. In addition, they can consider to complement usual face-to-face care with e-health. However, more research is needed on
effects on other outcomes, like quality of life and depression.