March 2010

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology


Oregon Health & Science University


Background: The Internet has great potential in assisting cancer patients and their families find relevant information. However, this potential may not be fully realized in Cowlitz County Washington. The goal of this project is to design a cancer information portal that contains three types of information: (1) Web links to cancer literature; (2) Local resource information such as library, support group, child care, counseling, spiritual care, etc, and (3) Special vendor information for a spectrum of products and services, such as prosthetics, nutrition, medical equipment, etc. To maintain the content of this portal ( add new information, remove outdated information and update existing information) a relational database was designed and created. Methods: In order to design a cancer web portal, we must gather and analyze the relevant information. To build a new system, I reviewed the existing system and specified the parts which could be improved. I analyzed local resources, such as the content of the Lower Columbia Regional Cancer Center’s New Patient Orientation notebook binder to learn what information the new cancer patient was currently provided. Other Web sites of this type were also studied. Interactions with care providers at Lower Columbia Cancer Center, and my eight years experience serving information needs of cancer patients provided the overall basis of what this web portal should provide. Using gap analysis methodology, we identified the existing cancer resources and opportunities for improvement, in other words, where we are and where we could potentially be. Results: A cancer resource web portal presents opportunities to empower cancer patients in Cowlitz County in their journey, enabling cancer patients to find needed information in one convenient place. It could reduce time required to find information that will help them make informed decisions about their health. This could also have immediate practical impact. To accomplish this, we developed design recommendations for a Cowlitz C.A.R.E. Web Portal. This included content design and database specifications. The new content and organization of material was specifically designed to help patients and their care givers to find useful information such as lodging, spiritual care, child care, local support group meetings and schedules, counseling and other local relevant services.




School of Medicine



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