Integrating Patient-Reported Outcome Measures into Routine Cancer Care: Cancer Patients' and Clinicians' Perceptions of Acceptability and Value

EGEMS (Wash DC). 2015 Oct 29;3(1):1169. doi: 10.13063/2327-9214.1169. eCollection 2015.


Introduction: Despite growing interest in integrating patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures of symptoms and functional status into routine cancer care, little attention has been paid to patients' and clinicians' perceptions of acceptability and value.

Methods: A two-phase qualitative study was conducted to develop a web-based PRO screening system with 21 items assessing symptoms (e.g., nausea) and functional status. Phase 1 involved cognitive interviews with 35 cancer outpatients (n=9 breast chemotherapy, radiation for prostate (n=8) or head and neck cancer (n=10), and n=8 bone marrow transplant [BMT]). In Phase 2, we evaluated the acceptability and perceived value of reviewing a PRO measure during real-time clinical encounters with 39 additional outpatients (n=10 breast, n=9 head and neck, n=10 prostate, n=10 BMT) and 12 clinicians (n=3 breast, n=2 head and neck, n=4 prostate, n=3 BMT). At least 20% of patients were ≥60 years, African American, or ≤ high school.

Results: Patients felt that their PRO summary of symptoms and functional status was helpful in discussing health issues with clinicians (92%), wanted to review their results with clinicians during future visits (82%), and would recommend it to other patients (87%). Clinicians found the PRO summary to be easy to interpret (83%), most helpful for documenting the Review of Symptoms (92%), and would recommend it to future patients (92%). Over 90% of clinicians reported that consultation time did not increase.

Conclusion: Both cancer patients and clinicians reported that discussing a PRO summary of symptoms and functional status during an outpatient visit was useful, acceptable, and feasible.

Keywords: Health Information Technology; Patient Involvement; Standardized Data Collection.