Background: Patient empowerment may be an effective approach to strengthen the role of cancer survivors and to reduce the
burden on health care. However, it is not well conceptualized, notably in oncology. Furthermore, it is unclear to what extent
information technology (IT) services can contribute to empowerment of cancer survivors.
Objective: We aim to define
the conceptual components of patient empowerment of chronic disease patients, especially cancer survivors, and to explore
the contribution of existing and new IT services to promote empowerment.
Methods: Electronic databases were searched
to identify theoretical and empirical articles regarding empowerment. We extracted and synthesized conceptual components of
patient empowerment (ie, attributes, antecedents, and consequences) according to the integrated review methodology. We identified
recent IT services for cancer survivors by examining systematic reviews and a proposed inventory of new services, and we related
their features and effects to the identified components of empowerment.
Results: Based on 26 articles, we identified
five main attributes of patient empowerment: (1) being autonomous and respected, (2) having knowledge, (3) having psychosocial
and behavioral skills, (4) perceiving support from community, family, and friends, and (5) perceiving oneself to be useful.
The latter two were specific for the cancer setting. Systematic reviews of IT services and our additional inventory helped
us identify five main categories: (1) educational services, including electronic survivorship care plan services, (2) patient-to-patient
services, (3) electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) services, (4) multicomponent services, and (5) portal services. Potential
impact on empowerment included knowledge enhancement and, to a lesser extent, enhancing autonomy and skills. Newly developed
services offer promising and exciting opportunities to empower cancer survivors, for instance, by providing tailored advice
for supportive or follow-up care based on patients' input.
Conclusions: We identified five main components of empowerment
and showed that IT services may especially contribute to empowerment by providing knowledge. The components of empowerment
could be used to develop IT services for cancer survivors. It is important to take into account patients’ needs, follow up
on these needs, and create a service that is attractive and easy to use.