Towards mobile communities for cancer patients: the case of
by Jan Marco Leimeister, Miriam Daum, Helmut Krcmar
International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC), Vol. 1, No. 1, 2004

Abstract: This article describes mobile virtual healthcare communities as a solution for meeting cancer patients' needs for information and interaction. After a short introduction into the German healthcare system and its potential starting points for virtual communities, the authors focus on cancer patients. They analyse their situation through field studies and identify information and interaction needs. On this basis, requirements for user centric socio-technical system design for cancer patients are derived. Since no existing offers meet these prerequisites, the authors work on piloting a mobile virtual community for cancer patients in Germany. Some of the identified user needs hint at an extension of web-based services for overcoming internet-related boundaries. New technological possibilities like mobile services and mobile devices are influencing virtual communities. Subjects like ubiquitous community access, new possibilities of user identification and location related services are of special interest since they might allow real ''anytime-anyplace'' access to the community platform. But regardless of the vast (theoretical) technical possibilities of new mobile technologies for extending web-based services, only socially accepted, technically stable and economically feasible solutions can ensure sustainable success of mobile virtual healthcare communities.

Online publication date: Mon, 28-Jun-2004

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