Healthcare delivery is placing greater emphasis on shared care and decision-making between healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated how the internet can be a facilitator in this process. Consequently, there has been an expansion of health information being accessed online by patients. A recent scoping review indicated a lack of high-quality evidence-based online resources for head and neck patients, with a paucity of end-user involvement during development (1).
To explore patients and HCPs views on content preferences and intervention design features to inform the development of an online resource for oral cancer patients.
Utilising a qualitative research design one-to-one semi-structured, remote, patient interviews (n=10) and three focus groups, involving healthcare professionals (n=21 HCPs) were recruited. HCPs data were collected using a blended approach of face-to-face and remote attendance. All data was collected between November 2020 and January 2021, in one acute healthcare setting within the United Kingdom.
Three key themes were identified:
1.Key objectives and constructs underpinning the online resource
2.Important content to be included within the online resource
3.Design features to optimise the online resource
Triangulated findings from participants importantly highlighted key features which would aid decision-making, promote preparedness for treatment and enhance post-treatment coping. Embedding patient experience narratives was seen as pivotal for contextualising information and enhancing understanding of the short- and long-term effects of treatment. Participants also confirmed that knowing a co-design approach was being adopted to plan and develop the resource was reassuring.
Exploring and triangulating patients’ and HCPs’ perspectives can co-create more meaningful content and an optimally engaging online patient resource. Using an intervention development framework such as the person-based approach (2) or the Medical Research Council guidelines (3) to inform development of online resources, should enhance implementation and effectiveness in routine clinical care for patients.