Use of Assistive Technology for Cognition Mobile Applications by Breast Cancer Patients Treated with Chemotherapy
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Type of Work82 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.
ProgramUniversity of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture.
Assistive technology for cognition
Difficulty thinking, remembering, and concentrating are common complaints among breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy; however, tools and support for coping with these impairments remain limited. A previously unexplored option for managing the perceived impairments that accompany chemotherapy is the use of assistive technology for cognition (ATC), which is designed to aid memory, planning, and attention. This study seeks to understand whether women with breast cancer perceive any benefit from using two ATC apps on their smartphone and whether any gaps exist between the functionality of these apps and the needs of the participants. This two-week study examines the experiences of eight women with breast cancer before and after the use of two ATC apps (It’s Done and AudioNote) using a combination of semi-structured interviews and diary entries. All eight participants were either currently undergoing chemotherapy or had been treated with chemotherapy in the past, and had self-reported cognitive impairments. Instances of forgetting and frustration observed before the introduction of the ATC apps indicated that participants’ current coping strategies did not adequately meet their cognitive needs. After the It’s Done and AudioNote apps were introduced, participants found aspects of the apps beneficial, such as the recurring reminders, push notifications, and audio recording feature. While most participants felt that the apps improved their quality of life in one or more areas, usability issues, lack of functionality, and lack of habitual use prevented the two apps from comprehensively addressing participant’s cognitive needs. Recommendations for a single ATC app that combines and improves upon the features present in It’s Done and AudioNote to better support the cognition of breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy are discussed.