Towards an explanatory model for e-health interventions for support and education in cancer care: An integrative review
This integrative review aims at providing an overview of supportive educational e-health programs, which have been offered to cancer patients, in order to gather more knowledge as to how such interventions have been designed, implemented and who is to benefit from such approaches. Moreover, in this comprehensive summary, the resulting explanatory model is discussed in the light of empowerment. Following the methodological suggestions of Whittemore (2005) PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO were searched for abstracts matching the eligibility criteria since the year 2000 until November 2010. Articles were considered for inclusion if they concerned supportive educational interventions, delivered through the Internet or resorting to a CD-ROM or DVD, and having adult patients diagnosed with cancer as the target population. Eighteen quantitative empirical studies constituted the final sample of this research review. The most common target population was women with breast cancer. The overall purposes of the reviewed interventions were: to provide informational, educational and emotional support; and to improve self-care behaviours. Mainly pedagogical theories gave structure to the interventions. Outcomes that were positively affected were: healthcare information and knowledge, healthcare participation, social support, quality of life, self-care ability, and coping. Supportive educational e-health interventions have been developed in the past few years taking into advantage the increasingly use of the Internet by patients for search for health information and support. Nonetheless, more knowledge is needed regarding the process sustaining such interventions, and empowerment on the light of the self-determination theory is likely to contribute to the missing structure.