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Currently accepted at: JMIR Cancer

Date Submitted: May 11, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: May 11, 2020 - Jun 3, 2020
Date Accepted: Oct 11, 2020
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

This paper has been accepted and is currently in production.

It will appear shortly on 10.2196/20137

The final accepted version (not copyedited yet) is in this tab.

A tablet-based, Engagement, Assessment, Support and Sign-posting (EASSi) tool used to facilitate and structure sexual wellbeing conversations in routine prostate cancer care: Mixed-methods evaluation

  • Eilís McCaughan; 
  • Carrie Flannagan; 
  • Kader Parahoo; 
  • John Connaghan; 
  • Roma Maguire; 
  • Mary Steele; 
  • Samantha Thompson; 
  • Suniel Jain; 
  • Mike Kirby; 
  • Nuala Brady; 
  • Sean O'Connor




Long-term side-effects associated with different prostate cancer treatment approaches are common. Sexual challenges are the most frequently occurring of these and can result in increased psychological morbidity. It is recognised that barriers to communication can make initiating discussions around sexual concerns in routine practice difficult. Healthcare professionals need to routinely initiate conversations, effectively engage with patients and assess needs in order to provide essential support. One proposed method which could support healthcare professionals to do this is use of prompts or structured frameworks to guide conversations.



To assess feasibility, acceptability and satisfaction with a tablet-based, Engagement, Assessment, Support and Sign-posting (EASSi) tool designed to facilitate and structure sexual wellbeing discussions in routine prostate cancer care.



Healthcare professionals (n=8) used the EASSi tool during 89 post-treatment appointments. Quantitative data were recorded based on programme usage and surveys completed by healthcare professionals and patients. Qualitative data exploring perceptions on use of the tool were gathered using semi-structured interviews with all healthcare professionals (n=8) and a sample of patients (n=10).



Surveys were completed by healthcare professionals immediately following each appointment (n=89: 100%). Postal surveys were returned by 59 patients (66%). Healthcare professionals and patients reported that the tool helped facilitate discussions (91.1% and 82.4% respectively) and that information provided was relevant (92.1% and 84.6% respectively). Mean conversation duration was 6.01 minutes (SD: 2.91). Qualitative synthesis identified the tool’s ability to initiate and structure discussions, improve ‘depth’ of conversations, and normalise sexual concerns.


Conclusion: The EASSi tool was appropriate and acceptable for use in practice and provided a flexible approach to facilitate routine, brief conversations and deliver essential sexual wellbeing support. Further work will be conducted evaluating the effectiveness of using the tablet-based tool in prostate cancer care settings. Clinical Trial: n/a


Please cite as:

McCaughan E, Flannagan C, Parahoo K, Connaghan J, Maguire R, Steele M, Thompson S, Jain S, Kirby M, Brady N, O'Connor S

A tablet-based, Engagement, Assessment, Support and Sign-posting (EASSi) tool used to facilitate and structure sexual wellbeing conversations in routine prostate cancer care: Mixed-methods evaluation

JMIR Cancer. 11/10/2020:20137 (forthcoming/in press)

DOI: 10.2196/20137


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