Designed Mobile Websites to Enable Cancer Patients to Learn Anytime, Anywhere

• Project Challenges

Patients need 24/7 and mobile access to reliable cancer diagnosis and treatment information. They also need information about the care and support services provided by their hospital or cancer center.

Patients in rural areas face additional challenges because they need to drive long distances to get to their cancer center to receive cancer information from the resource center or library. In addition, many hospital websites are not currently meeting the education needs of cancer patients because of web team staffing shortages and conflicting communication objectives for their primary, public facing websites.

UX Design Highlights the “Care and Support” Topics for each Cancer Center

• Project Solutions Provided

The design for each of the websites is mobile friendly, mobile-first, and responsive. The reliable cancer information for these websites comes from the National Cancer Institute, the state-of-the-art provider of patient education materials. The website design is flexible to include custom patient information from each cancer center. Usability testing at multiple cancer centers confirmed the simplified user interface and highlighted that certain topics were difficult to find. These topics were moved to the top level topic menu improving the usability of the program. Usability testing also showed that smartphone users, in particular, liked having topics in a list that they could scroll up and down to view in a section. The design was changed so all sections had this capability.

A high priority in my design for each website was to highlight the “Care and Support” programs from the client hospitals. These programs are very important for patient well being. They include classes such as yoga and Spring Forest Qigong to help patients relax. In my user-friendly design, I placed the menu item “Essentia Health Topics” at the very top of the home page giving easy access to this important content. As shown in the tablet image at left, all “Care and Support” topics are designed with a mobile friendly list view, where each list item is actually a button.

The User Experience for these Mobile Websites Supports Cancer Patients in Learning More

• Project Outcomes

The UX design of these mobile-friendly website programs also helps improve accessibility to important learning topics. The client websites have thousands of users every year accessing both the National Cancer Institute and custom cancer center support topics. Google analytics and custom site statistics for each site demonstrate that these websites are widely used.

Patients at the cancer centers say that the mobile-friendly sites are greatly appreciated. Patients like being able to quickly look up reliable information. Patients also find it helpful that medical staff can easily send them links to patient education topics they can pull up on their smartphones or at-home computers.

Rural cancer patients are now more connected to their health care team. In response to a patient phone call or email request for specific cancer information, health professionals can now send cancer patients website links via email or patient portal messaging.

“Care and Support Topics” screens from the Essentia Health Cancer Center custom patient education website.