Using tablet-based technology in patient education about systemic therapy options for early-stage breast cancer: a pilot study

E.R. Morgan, K. Laing, J. McCarthy, F. McCrate, M.D. Seal

Abstract


Background

Patient education in early-stage breast cancer has been shown to improve patient well-being and quality of life, but it poses a challenge given the increasingly complex regimens and time constraints in clinical practice. Technology-aided teaching in the clinic could help to improve the understanding of adjuvant systemic therapy for patients. In this prospective pilot study, we used a clinician-administered, tablet-based teaching aid to teach patients with early-stage breast cancer about adjuvant systemic therapy.

Methods

Participation was offered to newly diagnosed patients with early-stage breast cancer presenting for their first medical oncology visit at a provincial cancer centre. Participants were shown a tablet-based presentation describing procedures, rationales, risks, and benefits of adjuvant systemic therapy as an adjunct to a discussion with the medical oncologist. After the clinic visit, participants completed a questionnaire measuring satisfaction with the visit and knowledge of the treatment plan discussed.

Results

The 25 patients recruited for the study had a mean age of 57 years. An offer of upfront chemotherapy alone was made to 12 participants (48%), chemotherapy with trastuzumab to 4 (16%), and hormonal therapy to 9 (36%). Correct answers to all questions related to treatment knowledge were given by 22 patients (88%). Satisfaction with the clinic visit was high (mean  satisfaction score: 4.53 ± 0.1 of a possible 5).

Conclusions

We found that a tablet-based presentation about adjuvant systemic therapy was satisfactory to patients with early-stage breast cancer and that knowledge retention after the clinic visit was high. Tablet-based teaching could be a feasible and effective way of educating patients in the breast oncology clinic and warrants further investigation in randomized studies.


Keywords


Breast cancer; patient education; mobile technology; tablet computers; adjuvant systemic therapy; e-learning; clinical teaching tools

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.22.2476






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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)