User-Centered Development and Patient Acceptability Testing of a Health-Coaching Intervention to Enhance Cancer Survivorship Follow-up in Primary Care

This study looks at the early stages of development for a health-coaching intervention to guide self-management and follow-up care for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer survivors. Health coaches in primary care act as bridge between the clinician and the patient, facilitate the navigation of the healthcare system, provide emotional support, and serve as a consistent point of care continuity. The researchers engaged in a user-centred design process by interviewing survivors of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers throughout prototype development and testing. During the preliminary interviews, 81% of survivors were positive about the utility of health coaching. The top areas of identified need were emotional support (44%), general health information (35.3%), changes in diet and exercise (29.3%). The prototype was then refined to address the following concerns: (1) the amount of time for calls, (2) density of reading materials, (3) clarity about health coaches’ role, (4) customization. This resulted in the development of the Extended Cancer Educational for Long-Term Cancer Survivors health-coaching (EXCELSHC) program. Although further testing for efficacy in primary care must be conducted, health-coaching could considerably improve cancer survivorship follow-up and improve patient self-efficacy.

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