Developing a digital intervention for cancer survivors: an evidence-, theory- and person-based approach

This paper illustrates a rigorous approach to developing digital interventions using an evidence-, theory- and person-based approach. Intervention planning included a rapid scoping review that identified cancer survivors’ needs, including barriers and facilitators to intervention success. Review evidence (N = 49 papers) informed the intervention’s Guiding Principles, theory-based behavioural analysis and logic model. The intervention was optimised based on feedback on a prototype intervention through interviews (N = 96) with cancer survivors and focus groups with NHS staff and cancer charity workers (N = 31). Interviews with cancer survivors highlighted barriers to engagement, such as concerns about physical activity worsening fatigue. Focus groups highlighted concerns about support appointment length and how to support distressed participants. Feedback informed intervention modifications, to maximise acceptability, feasibility and likelihood of behaviour change. Our systematic method for understanding user views enabled us to anticipate and address important barriers to engagement. This methodology may be useful to others developing digital interventions.