The Dutch cancer information helpline: more critical patients after 10 years.

Maastricht University, Department of Health Education and Promotion, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Patient Education and Counseling (Impact Factor: 2.6). 11/2006; 63(1-2):215-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2005.10.011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study was conducted to assess the impact and evaluation of the Dutch national cancer information helpline and to assess differences in evaluation and impact with a comparable study conducted in 1994.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among all callers from the target groups patients, friends/relatives and the general public who contacted the information helpline from December 2003 until March 2004 (response 59%; N=665).
All characteristics of the helpline (provided information, educator's communication skills, and telephone aspects) were evaluated positively by a large majority of the respondents. All groups evaluated the impact of the helpline on overall satisfaction, anxiety, and meeting expectations positively. However, the three target groups showed different predictors for the outcome measures.
It can be concluded that 10 years after the first study, callers are still very positive in their evaluation. However, the different characteristics of the helpline are nowadays slightly more negatively judged, particularly by patients. The installation of the voice response system (VRS) as well as the fact that people have more easily access to information about their disease might account for these differences in evaluation.
To maintain the positive evaluations helpline educators as well as the VRS need to attune more to the different needs and problems of the target groups and provide tailored information.

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