Improving digital cancer care resources for disadvantaged populations

Posted 11 Feb 2022

More than ever, people are relying on technology to receive healthcare.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of digital health platforms, like Telehealth, it has also contributed to delays in access to cancer treatment and care. The pandemic has limited travel and resulted in additional financial stress for some low-income households.

In Australia, people living with socioeconomic disadvantage, and those living rurally can face challenges with digital technologies, including accessibility, affordability, and education.

Dr Emma Kemp has received a Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant to discover ways in which access to cancer care resources, particularly digital resources, can be improved for people who are living with cancer in socioeconomically and/or geographically disadvantaged circumstances.

Dr Kemp will seek the perspectives of people living with cancer in socioeconomically and/or geographically disadvantaged circumstances to determine how factors such as level of education and income, as well as location, affect engagement with digital resources for cancer care.

“Based on previous research, we hypothesise that socioeconomically or geographically disadvantaged circumstances may be associated with lower levels of digital health literacy, access, engagement and satisfaction,” Dr Kemp said.

“Better understanding of how these types of disadvantages can affect engagement in digital health resources for people with cancer will enable researchers to develop and provide digital resources that promote engagement for these populations, and enable provision of appropriate alternative support. This could reduce gaps in cancer outcomes relating to living with socioeconomic disadvantage and/or living rurally.”

Dr Kemp believes the results of this study may also be used to inform the provision of resources to people living in disadvantaged circumstances with other chronic illnesses, as well as cancer.

Research category: Public Health

Project title: Impact of socioeconomic and geographic disadvantage and digital health literacy on digital health engagement in people with cancer: a participatory, qualitative exploration of user needs and experiences 

Lead researcher: Dr Emma Kemp


Keep up to date

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive information on our latest news and events