Use of Digital Health Tools for Health Promotion in Cancer Survivors

Psychooncology. 2021 Mar 20. doi: 10.1002/pon.5677. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Although digital health tools (DHT) are a promising alternative and effective strategy to deliver cancer care and support, their role in health promotion among cancer survivors remains relatively unexplored. We aimed to investigate the acceptability and impact of DHT for health promotion in cancer survivors.

METHODS: Data was pooled from cycle three of the 5th edition of the Health Information National Trends Survey. Logistic regressions were conducted to evaluate differences between cancer survivors and the general population regarding ownership, usage, and perceived usefulness of DHT for health management. Regression models were used to identify sociodemographic predictors of DHT usage among cancer survivors.

RESULTS: Overall, cancer survivors were as likely as the general population to own and use DHT (e.g., health apps, wearable devices) for their care and they were likely to find these tools beneficial in tracking their health and communicating with healthcare providers. Cancer survivors who had health applications installed on their mobile device were more likely to meet national recommendations for diet (fruit and vegetable consumption) and strength training than those without health apps. Age, income, and education level were significant sociodemographic predictors of DHT ownership and usage.

CONCLUSION: Cancer survivors own and use DHT at similarly high rates to the general population, highlighting the potential for utilizing DHT to expand access and continuity of care in the growing and vulnerable oncology population. With increasing use of DHT in health care, future research that targets digital access disparities in cancer survivors from low SES is essential. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:33742737 | DOI:10.1002/pon.5677