Childhood cancers previously considered to be incurable now have 5-year survival rates up to 84%. Nevertheless, these patients remain at risk of morbidity and mortality from therapy-related complications. Thus, patient education and self-management strategies for promoting a healthy lifestyle are of tantamount importance for improving short- and long-term health outcomes. A Facebook-based “Healthy Teens for Soaam” (a Korean term for childhood cancers) program was developed to help improve knowledge and self-management practices of teens with cancer related to their disease and treatment.
The two-fold purpose of this usability study was (1) to describe the process of developing an 8-week Facebook-based intervention program for teens with cancer, and (2) to evaluate its usability to refine the program.
Multiple phases and methods were employed to develop and evaluate the usability of the program. Study phases included: (1) needs assessment through focus group interviews and qualitative content analysis, (2) development of module content, (3) expert review and feedback on module content, (4) Facebook-based program development, (5) usability evaluation by heuristic evaluation, (6) usability evaluation by targeted end-user testing, and (7) modification and final version of the program. Usability of the final version was confirmed through feedback loops of these phases.
Based on 6 focus group discussion sessions, it was determined that teens with cancer were interested in seeing stories of successful childhood cancer cases and self-management after discharge, and preferred multimedia content over text. Therefore, each Facebook module was redesigned to include multimedia materials such as relevant video clips tailored for teens. Usability assessed by heuristic evaluation and user testing revealed several critical usability issues, which were then revised. Potential end users tested the final program and perceived it to be usable and useful for teens with cancer.
To our knowledge, “Healthy Teens for Soaam” is the first Facebook-based intervention program for teens with cancer. We actively worked with current childhood cancer patients and survivors to develop and improve this program, achieved good usability, and met the expressed needs and preferences of target end users. This 8-week Facebook-based educational program for teens with cancer, developed as the first step of an upcoming intervention study, will be useful for improving knowledge and self-management strategies of teens.
©Bu Kyung Park, Ji Yoon Kim, Valerie E Rogers. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 28.07.2020.