Cancer Survivors’ Experience With Telehealth: A Systematic Review and Thematic Synthesis
PURPOSE Colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent cancer worldwide, although mortality rates across most of Europe have decreased in recent years. Historically, patients are asked to return to hospital outpatient clinics following treatment to monitor for disease progression. However, new approaches are being called for that focus on meeting the information and support needs of patients. Telephone follow-up (TFU) by specialist nurses is an alternative approach; this study aimed to explore patient views of TFU. METHODS Qualitative interviews were conducted with 26 colorectal cancer patients who had received TFU. One interview was also conducted with the specialist nurse who had used a structured intervention to provide TFU. Data were analysed using content analysis. RESULTS All patients found TFU to be a positive experience and all stated a preference for continuing with TFU. Three main themes emerged from the patient interviews; 1) accessible and convenient care, 2) personalised care, and 3) relationship with the specialist nurse. The themes from the specialist nurse interview were 1) knowing the patient, 2) the benefits of TFU and 3) the challenges of TFU. CONCLUSIONS TFU was well received by patients; it was perceived as highly convenient and had distinct advantages over hospital follow-up. Continuity of care was an important factor in building a trusting relationship between patient and nurse. Training in the use of the intervention is recommended and it may be useful for specialist nurses to initially meet eligible patients face to face to establish rapport before implementing TFU.