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Creating a CD-ROM Program for Cancer-Related Patient Education

Patricia Agre
James Dougherty
Jane Pirone
ONF 2002, 29(3), 573-580 DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.573-580

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the process of developing a cancer-related patient and family education CD-ROM program and initial evaluation results.

Data Sources: Published research, theory, practice, and personal experience.

Data Synthesis: CD-ROM programs can be far more comprehensive than the booklets and videotapes used more commonly in patient education. Developing CD-ROM programs requires funding, organizational skills, access to content experts, and a team composed of people who have the varied skills required for a finished multimedia product. The time frame for CD-ROM production is often longer than that of other patient-education formats. Published reports and this institution's experience confirm that patients accept this medium. Evaluation to date suggests that CD-ROMs may be more useful to patients and their families than any other single information source.

Conclusions: CD-ROM technology is more expensive than videotapes and booklets, but it allows for greater depth of content and may satisfy a broader range of educational needs than other media. Funding often can be obtained through foundations and with unrestricted educational grants from pharmaceutical companies.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses can lead multidisciplinary teams to produce CD-ROMs for their patient populations. These programs can be used before a patient has a first consultation to introduce a cancer or treatment and anytime during cancer diagnosis and treatment. They can reinforce one-on-one teaching or provide greater depth of content than ever could be provided in individualized teaching sessions. They can facilitate patients' self-directed learning and may allow nurses and doctors to teach on a different level. These programs also can complement patients' Internet searches either by creating a solid foundation for further investigation or by confirming the reliability of information gained through a variety of Internet sources.

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