MAPCOV – The use of a Mobile telephone App to Support Cancer Patients with Well-being, Anxiety, and Self-Management during COVID-19 Isolation


Year:

Session type:

Sofia Georgopoulou, Geraldine O’Gara, Emma Hainsworth, Emma Lidington, Linda Wedlake, Rayna Patel, Georgina Kirby, Justin Grayer, Riccardo Mangiapelo, Theresa Wiseman

Abstract

Background

In the current COVID-19 pandemic, people with cancer are a vulnerable group, subject to self-isolation/shielding. Providing tailored, timely information remotely in this rapidly changing environment may reduce anxiety and improve quality of life (QoL) by allowing patients to better manage and monitor their health and care. The role of digital interventions, such as apps, in supporting these aims is poorly understood.

Method

We conducted a mixed-methods pilot evaluating Vinehealth, an app supporting self-management in cancer patients. We assessed the impact of the app on anxiety, well-being, health-related QoL and self-management in people with cancer receiving outpatient systemic anti-cancer treatment during COVID-19.  Forty nine people were recruited from two sites of one London Cancer Centre.  Paired samples t-test compared QoL (EQ5D-5L, FACT-G), anxiety (GAD-7), and mental well-being (sWEMWBS) measures at baseline and three weeks.  Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews explored experience at three weeks.  App usage data was captured to investigate user engagement.

Results

Thirty eight (79%) participants downloaded Vinehealth, of which 37 (97%) used the app at least once.  One person withdrew; ten did not download the app.  All participants (n=49) completed baseline questionnaires, 35% (n=17) completed the follow-up questionnaires.  Non-significant improvements were seen in mean GAD-7:  -1.94, EQ5D-5L VAS: 6.41, and sWEMWBS: 1.97. Participants logged information in the app over 2700 times. Symptoms, medications and well-being were logged most frequently. Participants accessed information over 135 times with COVID-19 specific information the top-ten most read articles.  

Themes from 23 interviews included: negative emotional impact of COVID-19, impact of the app in supporting self-management and positive use of existing self-management strategies, and the app as a review/reflection aid to understand symptom trends over time.

Conclusion

Qualitative findings suggest the app may have the potential to support self-management in patients not already employing self-management strategies and symptom self-monitoring. We demonstrated that the app is an attractive tool and source of information for some patients, although it does not have universal appeal. The improvements in QoL outcomes suggest benefits of using the app may be demonstrated in larger studies. 

Impact statement