Journal Article

Implementing a healthcare professional-supported digital intervention for cancer survivors in primary care: A qualitative process evaluation of Renewed


Background: Primary care has an important role in supporting cancer survivors, yet support is limited because of practitioners’ perceived lack of expertise and time. A digital intervention for cancer survivors could provide an efficient way for primary care staff to support cancer survivors without the need to accumulate expertise and skills to help patients make behaviour changes, providing very brief support alongside this could maximise adherence to the digital interventions. Renewed is a digital intervention combining online behaviour change advice with brief healthcare practitioner support from a nurse or healthcare assistant. Knowledge about the views and experiences of primary care staff providing support alongside a digital intervention for cancer survivors is sparse, limiting understanding of the acceptability and feasibility of this type of intervention. Objective: To explore Supporters’ experiences of providing support to cancer survivors using Renewed, to understand potential barriers and facilitators to implementation of Renewed in practice, and investigate strengths and weaknesses of the intervention from the perspective of healthcare professionals. Methods: This was a qualitative process evaluation, nested within a large trial evaluating Renewed. Twenty-eight semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with nurses and healthcare assistants. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: Four themes were developed during analysis which reflected factors that Supporters identified as hindering or enabling them to provide support alongside Renewed Online (Themes: Renewed Online as an acceptable digital tool with some improvements; confidence to enact the Supporter role; practicalities of delivering support alongside a digital intervention; and managing a patient-led approach). The analysis suggests that Supporters perceived that a digital intervention such as Renewed would be beneficial to support cancer survivors in primary care, and fit within current practices. However, barriers to providing support alongside a digital intervention were also identified, including concerns about how to facilitate rapport building and, in a minority, concerns about employing a non-directive approach, in which the majority of advice and support is provided through a digital intervention, with brief additional support provided by primary care staff. Conclusion:  These findings add to the literature about how best to provide support alongside digital interventions, suggesting that whilst most practitioners cope well with a non-directive approach, a minority require more training to feel confident implementing this. This study suggests that barriers to providing formal support to cancer survivors in primary care could be successfully overcome with an approach like Renewed, where a digital intervention provides most of the support and expertise, and healthcare practitioners provide the additional brief human support to maximise engagement. Strategies to maximise the chances of successful implementation for this type of intervention are discussed.

Attached files


Smith, Jazzine
Essery, Rosie
Yardley, Lucy
Richardson, Alison
Slodkowska-Barabasz, Joanna
Foster, Claire
Watson, Eila
Grimmett, Chloe
Geraghty, Adam W.A.
Little, Paul
Bradbury, Katherine

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Nursing


Year of publication: Not yet published.
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-03-29

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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