Personalized mobile tools to support the cancer trajectory
Jacobs, Maia L.
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When managing cancer, people encounter many physical, emotional, social, and logistical challenges that impede on their quality of life and their ability to effectively manage their health. Helping people overcome these barriers is challenging, as the issues they face are not only broad, but also dynamic, changing over time. Timely access to health information can significantly improve a person’s illness management and quality of life, but often people feel under-informed or unable to find the necessary information. In my research, I developed new computing approaches for mobile health tools that consider the holistic and changing needs of individuals over time. To inform these systems, I have run a series of studies to understand how technology can better support patients throughout the cancer trajectory. These studies culminated in the design and evaluation of two novel mobile health systems: MyJourney Compass and MyPath. An evaluation of patients' use of these systems throughout treatment demonstrated the ability for personalized and adaptive health tools to encourage health behaviors and influence patients' health beliefs. This work makes contributions to the field of human-centered computing through the design and evaluation of novel patient-facing tools and the assessment of adaptive interfaces within personal health tools. To the health informatics field, this work provides an approach to offering multifaceted support for patients and an evaluation of how such support impacts patients' health management behaviors.