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Exploring the attitudes of health professionals providing care to patients undergoing treatment for upper gastrointestinal cancers to different models of nutrition care delivery: a qualitative investigation

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-03-01, 00:00 authored by Kate Furness, Kate HugginsKate Huggins, Daniel Croagh, Terry Haines
Background: People with upper gastrointestinal cancer are at high risk for malnutrition without universal access to early nutrition interventions. Very little data exist on the attitudes and views of health professionals on providing nutrition care to this patient cohort delivered by electronic health methods. COVID-19 has fast-tracked the adoption of digital health care provision, so it is more important than ever to understand the needs of health professionals in providing health care via these modes. This study aimed to explore the perspectives of health professionals on providing nutrition care to upper gastrointestinal cancer patients by electronic methods to allow the future scaling-up of acceptable delivery methods. Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted face-to-face or by telephone and recorded, de-identified and transcribed. Thematic analysis was facilitated by NVivo Pro 12. Results: Interviews were conducted on 13 health professionals from a range of disciplines across several public and private health institutions. Thematic analysis revealed three main themes: (1) the ideal model, (2) barriers to the ideal model and (3) how to implement and translate the ideal model. Health professionals viewed the provision of nutrition interventions as an essential part of an upper gastrointestinal cancer patient’s treatment with synchronous, telephone-based internal health service models of nutrition care overwhelmingly seen as the most acceptable model of delivery. Mobile application-based delivery methods were deemed too challenging for the current population serviced by these clinicians. Conclusion: The use of novel technology for delivering nutrition care to people receiving treatment for upper gastrointestinal cancers was not widely accepted as the preferred method of delivery by health professionals. There is an opportunity, given the rapid uptake of digital health care delivery, to ensure that the views and attitudes of health professionals are understood and applied to develop acceptable, efficacious and sustainable technologies in our health care systems








Article number



1 - 15




Basel, Switzerland







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal