Telenursing in colorectal cancer patient follow-up and treatment assessment: a mixed methods evaluation study

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Lara Santos,L
Pedro Pereira Rodrigues
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The incidence of colorectal cancer cases in the Portuguese Institute of Oncology of Porto created the need of a telenursing program in the Gastro-Intestinal Cancer Unit. After staging, treatment may involve surgery radio and chemotherapy (either oral or IV). Patients with no treatment after surgery are scheduled for medical exams every 3 months in the first 2 years. Patients on chemotherapy need to be compliant and to have a close monitoring of adverse events. The GI Cancer Unit uses a telenursing information system to help assess colorectal cancer patients' follow-up after surgery, medical treatment compliance and adverse events. A mixed-methods evaluation was done to a) describe the target population, b) detect problems in the telenursing information system, and c) suggest changes to meet users' requirements. From 181 outbound phone calls, representing 67 patients (49 in treatment and 18 in follow-up), patients' main characteristics were extracted and system's problems were identified by the intervening nurses. Recommendations will be useful for a further development of the system.