eHealth Activity Among African-American and White Cancer Survivors (Michigan)

Project Details - Ongoing

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Summary:

Many of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors in the United States confront a wide range of challenges to their physical, psychological, and social well-being. The technology within eHealth resources has the potential to address the needs of this population on a large scale. eHealth may be generally described as the use of Internet-based and mobile technologies to assess, monitor, and improve health. It represents a promising approach to addressing the multiple and often overwhelming needs of cancer survivorship; yet data show that survivors do not engage in a wide range of eHealth activity. This raises two questions:  To what extent do cancer survivors engage in eHealth activity?, and What are the determinants of such activity? Previous work suggests that those with greater health care needs may be more likely to use eHealth resources, raising the possibility that African-American survivors may be more likely to engage in certain eHealth activities because of the survivorship disparities experienced by this group. Furthermore, lower rates of some eHealth activities versus others make it probable that survivors use nondigital and electronic strategies to manage their health care needs, specifically, for their personal health information management (PHIM).

The specific aims of this project are as follows:

  • Examine racial differences in general eHealth activity among African-American and white cancer survivors
  • Examine racial differences in specific categories of eHealth activity among African-American and white cancer survivors
  • Explore the role of eHealth activity in the broader context of PHIM among African-American and white cancer survivors
  • Establish survivor-centered design principles that will be applied to the development of an eHealth tool for cancer survivors

This study uses mixed methods interviews in a population-based sample of African-American and white breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer survivors to assess general eHealth activity as well as specific activities. A subsample of participants will be selected for an ethnography of PHIM in one’s home or primary PHIM setting to examine the role of eHealth in the context of all PHIM practices. These data will guide the development of survivor-centered design principles that will inform the development of a software application prototype that will facilitate access to digital cancer survivorship resources.

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