Weekly electronic symptom-tracking surveys have improved physical functioning, symptom control and health-related quality of life among cancer patients, According to a published study Clothes.
In a randomized trial involving 52 practice and 1,191 patients receiving treatment for metastatic cancer, the researchers found statistically significant improvements in function and quality of life, such as secondary results after three months of follow-up compared to normal care. Preliminary results, overall survival results have not yet been found.
In the survey group, patients were asked to complete a weekly survey for one year, either online or through an automated phone system. They were asked about symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, shortness of breath, insomnia and depression.
The survey also included questions about eating and drinking, falling, financial challenges and the ability to take care of oneself and perform daily tasks. If a patient reported symptoms of being severe or worsening, a warning was issued to the care team.
“In this report of randomized clinical trials of adults receiving cancer treatment, the use of weekly electronic PRO surveillance for symptom monitoring compared to general care, physical efficacy at 3 months, symptom control and HRQOL has improved statistically from 2.5 to 100,” With an average improvement in points, these results should explain the temporarily pending results of the initial survival outcomes as a whole, “the study authors wrote.
Why it matters
Researchers have noted that early detection of symptoms can prevent them from getting worse and lead to complications. They also found that most patients were able to complete the survey, even though they were ill and had limited experience with certain technologies.
However, they also found that the effect was smaller than in previous single-center trials and that it decreased over time. Participants in the intervention group were also more likely to be excluded, which may mean that they found the survey difficult.
Other limitations include missing preliminary results, limited language options for the survey, lack of blindness and no control over the extra attention that the survey group has received from providers.
Although research demonstrates the potential benefits of symptom tracking for cancer patients, using the system can still be challenging to practice.
“Implementation requires changes in technology, patient engagement, staff effort, and information flow. Previous analysis of user feedback from this trial has provided a high level of encouragement from patients and physicians. Address, “the researchers wrote.
“Despite the cost savings associated with PRO monitoring for insurance companies, funding is not currently available in the United States to cover the additional costs of technology clinics and staff.”
There are a number of cancer-centric digital healthcare companies on the market. For example, Kaikou Health of Finnish descent Pharma and diagnostic giant Roche recently partnered to offer Kaiku’s tools for cancer symptom management and clinic and patient support.
Meanwhile the cancer-care-coordination platform Jasper Health and home care and remote monitoring company Rimage Care both recently raised $ 25 million in funding.