Integrating patient recorded outcomes (PROs) into routine oncology care could improve patient survival.
PROs are records of treatment-related effects that come straight from the patient. These can include details about emotional and physical side effects, quality of life and recovery. They are different to usual outcome measures used in traditional care, which usually come from a patient’s doctor or medical team.
PROs can offer the advantage of providing more in-depth details about what is happening to a patient during and after treatment, giving doctors a better idea of how to proceed with care.
In terms of cancer care, specifically, PROs could act as a patient monitoring tool, revealing side effects of treatment which may not be present when a patient sees the doctor.
A total of 766 patients, who were starting routine chemotherapy for advanced cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Center, took part in a trial between 2007 and 2011. The patients were randomly split into two groups: one which received usual care and one which required them to self-report 12 common symptoms using a web-based PRO questionnaire.
Overall survival of each group was assessed in 2016, at which point 67% of the total patient population had died.
The average overall survival of the PRO group was higher than the usual care group, at 31.2 months compared to 26 months.
With increasingly patient-centered medical and social care being a hot topic in today’s American health system, electronically recorded PROs could help bring more personalized care to patients.
In this study, the authors suggest that recording PROs via the web could help medical professionals respond faster to any adverse events that their patients had been experiencing. A solution that can speed intervention would be of benefit for any health issue.
However, the authors emphasize that the results of this study are based on a single healthcare center. For a more comprehensive understanding of whether PROs could indeed improve survival among cancer patients, a larger, more diverse population of patients would need to be examined.
Basch, Ethan, Allison Deal, Amylou Dueck, Howard Scher, Mark Kris, Clifford Hudis, and Deborah Schrag. Overall Survival Results of a Trial Assessing Patient-Reported Outcomes for Symptom Monitoring During Routine Cancer Treatment. JAMA, 2017.