Provision of cancer information as a "support for navigating the knowledge landscape" : findings from a critical interpretive literature synthesis
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Purpose of the research: Information is often seen as a crucial tool for the support of cancer patients, facilitating their involvement in care management and in decision-making. The importance of theory in guiding provision of cancer information has been widely accepted, but there is a growing need for critical reflection on the concepts underlying approaches to information provision. This paper presents findings from a critical review of literature related to information in cancer care. Methods: Critical interpretive synthesis (CIS) was employed to review and synthesise published literature. 57 publications were selected in a multi-step systematic process. Their content was analysed and synthesised using established methodology consistent with primary qualitative research. Key results: The synthesis identified and characterised a concept of cancer information provision as a "support for navigating the knowledge landscape". This concept recognises the diverse, changing and relational nature of patients' values, needs and preferences. It promotes a view of information provision as an ongoing and flexible process of navigating different resources, which in turn support the navigation of patients' broader experiences of their health and care. This process recognises various levels of patient involvement with healthcare services, and ensures timely provision of selected and personally relevant information. Conclusion: The concept of "support for navigating the knowledge landscape" offers a useful way of envisaging information services for people with cancer (and possibly also with other chronic illnesses), which would be responsive to patients' needs and preferences. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.