Virtual environments in cancer care: Pilot-testing a three-dimensional web-based platform as a tool for support in young cancer patients. Health informatics journal Hoybye, M. T., Olsen, P. R., Hansson, H. E., Spiegel, D., Bennetsen, H., Cheslack-Postava, E. 2016


Bringing virtual environments into cancer support may offer a particular potential to engage patients and increase adherence to treatment. Developing and pilot-testing an online real-time multi-user three-dimensional platform, this study tested the use of an early prototype of the platform among adolescent and young adult cancer patients. Data were collected with an online questionnaire and using ethnographic methods of participant observation. The adolescent and young adult patients tested basic features of the virtual environment and some conducted brief in-world interactions with fellow patients during hospitalization. They had no reservations about using the technology and shared their ideas about its use. Our pilot test pointed to a number of areas of development for virtual environment applications as potential platforms for medical or behavioral interventions in cancer care. Overall, the results demonstrate the need for high user involvement in the development of such interventions and early testing of intervention designs.

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