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Using patients' own knowledge of early sensations and symptoms to develop an interactive, individualized e-questionnaire to facilitate early diagnosis of lung cancer.

Levitsky, A., Bernhardson, B-M., Henoch, I. , Olin, M., Kölbeck, K., Rystedt, N., Tishelman, C. & Eriksson, L. E. ORCID: 0000-0001-5121-5325 (2021). Using patients' own knowledge of early sensations and symptoms to develop an interactive, individualized e-questionnaire to facilitate early diagnosis of lung cancer.. BMC Cancer, 21(1), 544. doi: 10.1186/s12885-021-08265-x


BACKGROUND: One reason for the often late diagnosis of lung cancer (LC) may be that potentially-indicative sensations and symptoms are often diffuse, and may not be considered serious or urgent, making their interpretation complicated. However, with only a few exceptions, efforts to use people's own in-depth knowledge about prodromal bodily experiences has been a missing link in efforts to facilitate early LC diagnosis. In this study, we describe and discuss facilitators and challenges in our process of developing and initial testing an interactive, self-completion e-questionnaire based on patient descriptions of experienced prodromal sensations and symptoms, to support early identification of lung cancer (LC).

METHODS: E-questionnaire items were derived from in-depth, detailed explorative interviews with individuals undergoing investigation for suspected LC. The descriptors of sensations/symptoms and the background items obtained were the basis for developing an interactive, individualized instrument, PEX-LC, which was refined for usability through think-aloud and other interviews with patients, members of the public, and clinical staff.

RESULTS: Major challenges in the process of developing PEX-LC related to collaboration among many actors, and design/user interface problems including technical issues. Most problems identified through the think-aloud interviews related to design/user interface problems and technical issues rather than content, for example we re-ordered questions to be in line with patients' chronological, rather than retrospective, descriptions of their experiences. PEX-LC was developed into a final e-questionnaire on a touch-screen smart tablet with one background module covering sociodemographic characteristics, 10 interactive, individualized modules covering early sensations and symptoms, and a 12th assessing current symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Close collaboration with patients throughout the process was intrinsic for developing PEX-LC. Similarly, we recognized the extent to which clinicians and technical experts were also important in this process. Similar endeavors should assure all necessary competence is included in the core research team, to facilitate timely progress. Our experiences developing PEX-LC combined with new empirical research suggest that this individualized, interactive e-questionnaire, developed through systematizing patients' own formulations of their prodromal symptom experiences, is both feasible for use and has potential value in the intended group.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2021Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you giveappropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate ifchanges were made. This article has been published in BMC Cancer, DOI:
Publisher Keywords: Lung cancer, Respiratory diseases, Think-aloud interviews, Instrument development, Questionnairedesign, E-questionnaire, Internet, Usability, Tablet computers, User-computer interface
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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