Study published: Challenges experienced during the development of an internet-administered intervention for parents of children treated for cancer


What are the greatest challenges when developing complex digital healthcare interventions? And what is important to have in mind when planning feasibility studies of internet-administered interventions and research using digital features to support the execution of study procedures (e.g., recruitment, consent, retention, and data collection)? This is what a group of researchers within U-CARE has investigated in a recently published paper.

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The researchers conducted a document analysis, informed by a thematic analysis approach, of meeting minutes from all study meetings held by the ENGAGE feasibility study research team. In addition, discussion groups with members of the research team were held to gain a deeper understanding of the key challenges.

Six main themes were identified in the analysis: decision making and communication, expertise, external constraints, flexibility, planning and scheduling, and technical constraints.

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Professor Louise von Essen.

Louise von Essen is one of the authors of the paper and principal investigator of the ENGAGE study:

– This study highlights that it is time consuming and challenging to conduct feasibility studies of complex digital healthcare interventions. ENGAGE became more complex than any of us in the research team had anticipated. The complexity of the study made it very demanding, and we did not know where to start in the beginning.

Louise von Essen thinks it is important that research funding agencies take into account the complexity of feasibility studies.

– Future similar studies need grants that correspond to the work effort and expertise that are required to conduct such studies, says Louise von Essen.

Read the full paper ‘Conducting digital healthcare research: A document analysis of challenges experienced during intervention development and feasibility study set-up of an internet-administered intervention for parents of children treated for cancer’. The paper is published in the scientific journal JMIR Formative Research. It is wENGAGE logoritten by Joanne Woodford, Mathilda Karlsson, Josefin Hagström, Ylva Hägg Sylvén, Kajsa Norbäck, Helena Grönqvist, and Louise von Essen (principal investigator). 

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Last modified: 2022-05-25