Clinical Utility and User Perceptions of a Digital System for Electronic Patient-Reported Symptom Monitoring During Routine Cancer Care: Findings From the PRO-TECT Trial

JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2020 Oct;4:947-957. doi: 10.1200/CCI.20.00081.


Purpose: There is increasing interest in implementing digital systems for remote monitoring of patients' symptoms during routine oncology practice. Information is limited about the clinical utility and user perceptions of these systems.

Methods: PRO-TECT is a multicenter trial evaluating implementation of electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) among adults with advanced and metastatic cancers receiving treatment at US community oncology practices ( identifier: NCT03249090). Questions derived from the Patient-Reported Outcomes version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (PRO-CTCAE) are administered weekly by web or automated telephone system, with alerts to nurses for severe or worsening symptoms. To elicit user feedback, surveys were administered to participating patients and clinicians.

Results: Among 496 patients across 26 practices, the majority found the system and questions easy to understand (95%), easy to use (93%), and relevant to their care (91%). Most patients reported that PRO information was used by their clinicians for care (70%), improved discussions with clinicians (73%), made them feel more in control of their own care (77%), and would recommend the system to other patients (89%). Scores for most patient feedback questions were significantly positively correlated with weekly PRO completion rates in both univariate and multivariable analyses. Among 57 nurses, most reported that PRO information was helpful for clinical documentation (79%), increased efficiency of patient discussions (84%), and was useful for patient care (75%). Among 39 oncologists, most found PRO information useful (91%), with 65% using PROs to guide patient discussions sometimes or often and 65% using PROs to make treatment decisions sometimes or often.

Conclusion: These findings support the clinical utility and value of implementing digital systems for monitoring PROs, including the PRO-CTCAE, in routine cancer care.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electronics
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Perception

Associated data