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At-Home Support for Rural Women Using Group Video Calling

This study is a collaboration between Sierra Streams Institute and Stanford University. Cheryl Koopman, PhD, at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and Mary Anne Kreshka, MA, and Joanne Hild, MS, at Sierra Streams Institute, Nevada City, CA
Study abstract

Technological changes offer exciting new opportunities for providing support to women living in rural areas who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Rural women travel long distances to cancer treatment centers with little or no access to local support groups following treatment. To address this inequality, we will use an at-home delivery system to put women in closer control of their support group accessibility, by providing professionally-led support groups via the Internet, using group video calling. As the Internet is now widely accessible, we propose a pilot study of providing breast cancer support to rural women via group video calling, laying the foundation for a large randomized clinical trial to test this intervention’s efficacy for improving quality of life in this population.

1) Is providing at-home professionally-led support using group video calling acceptable and satisfactory to women diagnosed with breast cancer in California rural communities?
2) Is it feasible to use on-line tools to recruit, screen, assess, randomize, deliver an experimental intervention based on group video calling, and conduct follow-up assessments with these women?

Specific Aims:
1) Demonstrate that delivering at-home professionally-led breast cancer support using group video calling is feasible, acceptable and satisfactory for women in rural California.
2) Evaluate the feasibility of using on-line tools to recruit, screen, treat, and assess this population for a subsequent randomized clinical trial.
3) Assess whether the rate of recruitment of women in this region using predominantly on-line means of recruitment can be improved over that of the previous study using predominantly face-to-face means of recruitment.

Study review

Researchers at Stanford University, in collaboration with Sierra Streams Institute, are investigating whether a professionally led breast cancer support group that uses video calling is feasible, useful, and satisfactory for breast cancer survivors in rural California. Using a variety of recruitment methods, their goal was to enroll up to 32 volunteers from rural California counties. The Call to Action for this study was sent to Army of Women (AOW) members on Feb. 13, 2013, and the researchers closed enrollment on Nov. 4, 2013. The AOW provided them with 23 women who were interested in enrolling in the study.