BACKGROUND: Patient reported outcomes (PROs) have been associated with improved symptom management and quality of life in patients with cancer. However, the implementation of PROs in an academic clinical practice has not been thoroughly described. Here we report on the execution, feasibility and healthcare utilization outcomes of an electronic PRO (ePRO) application for cancer patients at an academic medical center.METHODS: We conducted a randomized trial comparing an experimental ePRO arm to standard of care in patients with advanced cancer in the thoracic, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary oncology groups at Stanford Cancer Center from March 2018 to November 2019. We describe the pre-implementation, implementation, and post-implementation phases of the ePRO arm, technological barriers, electronic health record (EHR) integration, clinician burden, and patient data privacy and security. Feasibility was pre-specified to be at least 70% completion of all questionnaires. Acceptability was based on patient and clinician feedback. Ambulatory healthcare utilization was assessed by reviewing numbers of phone messages, electronic portal messages, and referrals for supportive care.RESULTS: Of 617 ePRO questionnaires sent to 72 patients, 445 (72%) were completed. Most clinicians (87.5%) and patients (93%) felt neutral or positive about the ePRO tool's ease of use. Exposure to ePRO did not cause a measurable change in ambulatory healthcare utilization, with a median of less than two phone messages and supportive care referrals, and 5-6 portal messages.CONCLUSIONS: Web-based ePRO tools for patients with advanced cancer are feasible and acceptable without increasing clinical burden. Key lessons include the importance of pilot testing, engagement of stakeholders at all levels, and the need for customization by disease group. Future directions for this work include completion of EHR integration, expansion to other centers, and development of integrated workflows for routine clinical practice.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s41687-021-00358-2
View details for PubMedID 34524558