Cancer Survivors' Receptiveness to Digital Technology-Supported Physical Rehabilitation and the Implications for Design: Qualitative Study

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Background: Physical activity is associated with a positive prognosis in cancer survivors and may decrease the risk of adverse effects of treatment. Accordingly, physical activity programs are recommended as a part of cancer rehabilitation services. Digital technology may support cancer survivors in increasing their level of physical activity and increase the reach or efficiency of cancer rehabilitation services, yet it also comes with a range of challenges.

Objective: The aim of this qualitative study was to explore cancer survivors' receptiveness to using digital technology as a mode of support to increase their physical activity in a municipality-based cancer rehabilitation setting.

Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 11 cancer survivors (3 males, 8 females, age range 32-82 years) who were referred for cancer rehabilitation and had participated in a questionnaire survey using the Readiness and Enablement Index for Health Technology (READHY) questionnaire Data analysis was based on the content analysis method.

Results: Two themes were identified as important for the interviewees' receptiveness to using digital technology services in connection with their physical activity during rehabilitation: their attitude toward physical activity and their attitude toward digital technology-assisted physical activity. Our results indicated that it is important to address the cancer survivors' motivation for using technology for physical activity and their individual preferences in terms of the following: (1) incidental or structured (eg, cardiovascular and strength exercises or disease-specific rehabilitative exercises) physical activity; (2) social or individual context; and (3) instruction (know-how) or information (know-why).

Conclusions: The identified preferences provide new insight that complements the cancer survivors' readiness level and can likely help designers, service providers, and caregivers provide solutions that increase patient receptiveness toward technology-assisted physical activity. Combining digital technology informed by cancer survivors' needs, preferences, and readiness with the capacity building of the workforce can aid in tailoring digital solutions to suit not only individuals who are receptive to using such technologies but also those reluctant to do so.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15335
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number8
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • cancer, rehabilitation, physical activity, digital technology, OF-LIFE, EXERCISE, INTERVENTIONS, BARRIERS, OUTCOMES, FATIGUE, PROGRAM, DENMARK, IMPACT

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