E-Health as Dialogue: Communication and Quality of Cancer Care

Linda Harris, Connie Dresser, and Gary L. Kreps

The communication demands in cancer care are very high, involving gathering, interpreting, and sharing complex and often emotionally-charged information among a network of interdependent caregivers, health care professionals, and patients. Communication technologies (such as interactive computer systems, advanced telecommunications programs, and multimedia educational programs) have been developed, adopted, and adapted to help individuals confronting cancer to meet the unique communication demands of cancer care, to access the most relevant and accurate health information, to coordinate complex interdependent caregiving activities, to gather and provide needed social support, and to facilitate informed decision making. The purpose of this paper is to examine the uses of health communication technologies, often referred to as e-health, to promote needed information sharing, feedback, and dialogue in cancer care.

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