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Open Access Research article

The Brustkrebs-Studien.de website for breast cancer patients: User acceptance of a German internet portal offering information on the disease and treatment options, and a clinical trials matching service

Markus Wallwiener12*, Christian W Wallwiener1, Sara Y Brucker23, Andreas D Hartkopf3, Tanja N Fehm3 and Julia K Kansy4

Author Affiliations

1 The Heidelberg Breast Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Voßstr. 9, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany

2 The Baden-Württemberg Institute for Women's Health, University of Tübingen, Calwerstr. 7, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany

3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Tübingen University Hospital, University of Tübingen, Calwerstr. 7, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany

4 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Basel University Hospital, Spitalstr. 21, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:663  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-663

Published: 2 December 2010

Abstract

Background

The internet portal http://www.brustkrebs-studien.de webcite (BKS) was launched in 2000 by the German Society of Senology (DGS) and the Baden-Württemberg Institute for Women's Health (IFG) to provide expert-written information on breast cancer online and to encourage and facilitate the participation of breast cancer patients in clinical trials. We describe the development of BKS and its applications, and report on website statistics and user acceptance.

Methods

Existing registries, including ClinicalTrials.gov, were analysed before we designed BKS, which combines a trial registry, a knowledge portal, and an online second opinion service. An advisory board guided the process. Log files and patient enquiries for trial participation and second opinions were analysed. A two-week user satisfaction survey was conducted online.

Results

During 10/2005-06/2010, the portal attracted 702,655 visitors, generating 15,507,454 page views. By 06/2010, the website's active scientific community consisted of 189 investigators and physicians, and the registry covered 163 clinical trial protocols. In 2009, 143 patients requested trial enrolment and 119 sought second opinions or individual treatment advice from the expert panel. During the two-week survey in 2008, 5,702 BKS visitors submitted 507 evaluable questionnaires. Portal acceptance was high. Respondents trusted information correctness (80%), welcomed self-matching to clinical trials (79%) and planned to use the portal in the future (76%) and recommend it to others (81%).

Conclusions

BKS is an established and trusted breast cancer information platform offering up-to-date resources and protocols to the growing physician and patient community to encourage participation in clinical trials. Further studies are needed to assess potential increases in trial enrolment by eligibility matching services.