Developing a real-time electronic symptom monitoring system for patients after discharge following cancer-related surgery

Kerry N L Avery, Hollie S Richards, Amanda Portal, Trudy Reed, Ruth Harding, Robert Carter, Leon Bamforth, Kate Absolom, Elaine O'Connell Francischetto, Galina Velikova, Jane M Blazeby
BMC Cancer 2019 May 17, 19 (1): 463

BACKGROUND: Patients undergoing major cancer surgery frequently require post-acute care for complications and adverse effects. Enhanced recovery after surgery programmes mean that patients are increasingly discharged home earlier. Symptom/complication detection post-discharge is sub-optimal. Systematic patient monitoring post-discharge following surgery may be optimally achieved through routine electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) data capture. ePRO systems that employ clinical algorithms to guide management of patients and automatically alert clinicians of clinically-concerning symptoms can improve patient outcomes and decrease hospital admissions. ePRO systems that provide individually-tailored self-management advice and integrate live ePRO data into electronic health records (EHR) may also advance personalised health and patient-centred care. This study aims to develop a hospital EHR-integrated ePRO system to improve detection and management of complications post-discharge following cancer-related surgery.

METHODS: The ePRO system was developed in two phases: (1) Development of a web-based ePRO symptom-report from validated European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) questionnaires, clinical opinion and patient interviews, followed by hospital EHR integration; (2) Development of clinical algorithms triggering symptom severity-dependent patient advice and clinician alerts from: (i) prospectively-collected patient-completed ePRO symptom-report data; (ii) stakeholder meetings; (iii) patient interviews. Patient advice was developed from: (i) clinician-patient telephone consultations and patient interviews; (ii) review of hospital patient information leaflets (PIL) and patient support websites.

RESULTS: Phase 1, including interviews with 18 patients, identified 35 symptom-report items. In phase 2, 130/300 (43%) screened patients were eligible. 61 (47%) consented to participate and 59 (97%) provided 444 complete self-reports. Stakeholder meetings (9 clinicians, 1 patient/public representative) and patient interviews (n = 66) refined advice/alert accuracy. 15 telephone consultations, 7 patient interviews and review of 28 PILs and 3 patient support websites identified 4 themes to inform self-management advice. Comparisons between ePRO symptom-report data, telephone consultations and clinical events/outcomes (n = 27 patients) further refined clinical algorithms.

CONCLUSIONS: A hospital EHR-integrated ePRO system that alerts clinicians and provides patient self-management advice has been developed to improve the detection and management of problems and complications after discharge following surgery. An ongoing pilot study will inform a multicentre randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the ePRO system compared to usual care.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"