Exploring Determinants of Patient Adherence to a Portal-Supported Oncology Rehabilitation Program: Interview and Data Log Analyses

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Background: Telemedicine applications often do not live up to their expectations and often fail once they have reached the operational phase.

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the determinants of patient adherence to a blended care rehabilitation program, which includes a Web portal, from a patient’s perspective.

Methods: Patients were enrolled in a 12-week oncology rehabilitation treatment supported by a Web portal that was developed in cooperation with patients and care professionals. Semistructured interviews were used to analyze thought processes and behavior concerning patient adherence and portal use. Interviews were conducted with patients close to the start and the end of the treatment. Besides, usage data from the portal were analyzed to gain insights into actual usage of the portal.

Results: A total of 12 patients participated in the first interview, whereas 10 participated in the second round of interviews. Furthermore, portal usage of 31 patients was monitored. On average, 11 persons used the portal each week, with a maximum of 20 in the seventh week and a drop toward just one person in the weeks in the follow-up period of the treatment. From the interviews, it was derived that patients’ behavior in the treatment and use of the portal was primarily determined by extrinsic motivation cues (eg, stimulation by care professionals and patient group), perceived severity of the disease (eg, physical and mental condition), perceived ease of use (eg, accessibility of the portal and the ease with which information is found), and perceived usefulness (eg, fit with the treatment).

Conclusions: The results emphasized the impact that care professionals and fellow patients have on patient adherence and portal usage. For this reason, the success of blended care telemedicine interventions seems highly dependent on the willingness of care professionals to include the technology in their treatment and stimulate usage among patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e12
JournalJMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2017


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