The Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control

Understanding British Columbia cancer patients’ experiences with virtual health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lead Researcher(s):  Stuart Peacock

Lead Institution: BC Cancer

Co-Investigators: Helen McTaggart-Cowan, Lena Cuthbertson, Sara Izadi-Najabadi, Leah Lambert, Craig Mitton

ARCC Program Area(s): Survivorship

Funding Term: 2021-2022

Project Summary:

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted cancer patients in British Columbia in receiving their care in a timely fashion. Many cancer patients have had their medical appointments either postponed or changed to virtual health visits (i.e., telephone or online) to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19. While the use of virtual health technologies enables patients to receive their cancer care, it is not clear as to what are the experiences of cancer patients regarding changes to their care. Therefore, in this study, we will evaluate cancer patients’ experiences with virtual health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Outpatient Cancer Care (OCC) Patient Experience Survey, which has originally been used to collect data for cancer patients at BC Cancer Centres in May 2020, will be used to explore cancer survivor’s experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 126-item OCC survey comprises information about a patient’s diagnosis; treatment decision-making; experiences with treatment, care providers, and virtual health; and health-related quality of life. The items of the OCC survey will be adapted to within a COVID-19 pandemic context. We will use data previously collected in 2020 with responses to the new survey to perform within and between sample comparisons and gain a better understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected cancer care and virtual health experiences. This study is currently underway and the data collection is expected to be completed in July 2021.


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