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ISRN Nursing
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 260975, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/260975
Research Article

How Does an Online Patient-Nurse Communication Service Meet the Information Needs of Men with Recently Diagnosed Testicular Cancer?

1Center for Shared Decision Making and Collaborative Care, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo Universitetssykehus HF, Medisinsk klinikk, Postboks 4950 Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway
2Department of Nursing Science, Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Postboks 1130, Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
3Abildsø Nursing Home, Center for Development of Institutional Care Services in Oslo, Løvsetdalen 2, 1166 Oslo, Norway
4School of Technic and Health, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Alfred Nobels Allé 10, 14152 Huddinge, Sweden

Received 24 September 2012; Accepted 5 November 2012

Academic Editors: S. McClement and B. Roberts

Copyright © 2012 Torunn Wibe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Online communication has become a potential means of communication between patients and health care providers, but so far few studies are published about online communication as part of nursing care. The aim of this study was to explore how an online patient-nurse communication (OPNC) service meets the information needs of men with newly diagnosed testicular cancer. We applied a qualitative approach by examining the content of online messages sent by patients to nurses in a specialist cancer unit. In addition, individual interviews were conducted with patients who had used the OPNC service. Four themes became distinct through a synthesis of the material from the interviews and the messages: “a means for managing illness-related concerns at home,” “a means for ensuring information flow,” “a means for strategic information seeking,” and “not yet available when needed most.” Individualized information provided by nurses with access to their medical record was shown to be important to these patients. The findings of this study indicate that not only may access to an OPNC service help patients fulfill their otherwise unmet information needs, but also it may prevent delays and discontinuity in care due to informational gaps and lead to improved patient safety.