Usability and feasibility of health IT interventions to enhance Self-Care for Lymphedema Symptom Management in breast cancer survivors

Mei R. Fu, Deborah Axelrod, Amber A. Guth, Yao Wang, Joan Scagliola, Karen Hiotis, Kavita Rampertaap, Nardin El-Shammaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose The-Optimal-Lymph-Flow health IT system (TOLF) is a patient-centered, web-and-mobile-based educational and behavioral health IT system focusing on safe, innovative, and pragmatic self-care strategies for lymphedema symptom management. The purpose of this study was to evaluate usability, feasibility, and acceptability of TOLF among the end-user of breast cancer survivors. Methods Two types of usability testing were completed with 30 breast cancer survivors: heuristic evaluation and end-user testing. Each participant was asked to think aloud while completing a set of specified tasks designed to explicate and freely explore the system features. A heuristic evaluation checklist, the Perceived Ease of Use and Usefulness Questionnaire, and The Post Study System Usability Questionnaire were used to evaluate usability of the system. Open-ended questions were used to gather qualitative data. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were summarized thematically. Results Breast cancer survivors were very satisfied with the system: 90% (n=27) rated the system having no usability problems; 10% (n=3) noted minor cosmetic problems: spelling errors or text font size. The majority of participants 96.6% (n=29) strongly agreed that the system was easy to use and effective in helping to learn about lymphedema, symptoms and self-care strategies. Themes from the qualitative data included empowerment, high quality information, loving avatar simulation videos, easy accessibility, and user-friendliness. Conclusions This usability study provided evidence on breast cancer survivor's acceptance and highly positive evaluation of TOLF's usability as well as feasibility of using technologically-driven delivery model to enhance self-care strategies for lymphedema symptom management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalInternet Interventions
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Breast cancer survivor
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Feasibility
  • Health IT
  • Lymphedema
  • Lymphedema symptoms
  • Self-care
  • Symptoms
  • Usability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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