Cancer-Related Internet Use and Its Association With Patient Decision Making and Trust in Physicians Among Patients in an Early Drug Development Clinic: A Questionnaire-Based Cross-Sectional Observational Study


Background: The role of cancer-related internet use on the patient-physician relationship has not been adequately explored among patients who are cancer-related internet users (CIUs) in early-phase clinical trial clinics. Objective: We examined the association between cancer-related internet use and the patient-physician relationship and decision making among CIUs in an early drug development clinic. Methods: Of 291 Phase I clinic patients who completed a questionnaire on internet use, 179 were CIUs. Generations were defined by the year of patient’s birth: “millennials” (after 1990) and “Generation X/Y” (1965-1990) grouped as “Millennials or Generation X/Y”; “Baby Boomers” (1946-1964); and “Greatest or Silent Generation” (1945 and earlier). Statistical analyses included the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test and the Mann-Whitney U test. Results: CIUs were 52% (94/179) female, 44% (78/179) were older than 60 years, and 60% (108/179) had household incomes exceeding US $60,000. The sources of information on cancer and clinical trials included physicians (171/179, 96%), the internet (159/179, 89%), and other clinical trial personnel (121/179, 68%). For the overall sample and each generation, the median values for trust in referring and Phase I clinical trial physicians among early drug development clinic CIUs were 5 on a 0-5 scale, with 5 indicating “complete trust.” CIUs’ trust in their referring (5) and phase 1 (5) physicians was higher than CIUs’ trust in Web-based cancer-related information (3; P<.001 for both). CIUs who reported visiting the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website, NCI.org, to learn about cancer reported higher levels of trust in Web-based cancer-related information than CIUs who did not use the NCI website (P=.02). Approximately half of CIUs discussed internet information with their doctor. Only 14% (23/165) of CIUs had asked their physician to recommend cancer-related websites, and 24% (35/144) of CIUs reported at least occasional conflict between their physician’s advice and Web-based information. Conclusions: Despite the plethora of websites related to cancer and cancer clinical trials, patients in early-phase clinical trial settings trust their physicians more than Web-based information. Cancer-related organizations should provide regularly updated links to trustworthy websites with cancer and clinical trial information for patients and providers and educate providers on reliable cancer websites so that they can better direct their patients to appropriate internet content. Cancer-Related Internet Use and Its Association With Patient Decision Making and Trust in Physicians Among Patients in an Early Drug Development Clinic: A Questionnaire-Based Cross-Sectional Observational Study

Tags: Health, US, National Cancer Institute NCI, NCI, Mann Whitney, Wilcoxon

Source:  https://www.jmir.org/2019/3/e10348/