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Real-World Use of Electronic Patient-Reported Outcome (ePRO) Tools Integrated in the Electronic Medical Record During Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer: Feasibility Study

Purpose Use of electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) tools in routine oncology practice can be challenging despite evidence showing they can improve survival, improve patient and practitioner satisfaction, and reduce medical resource utilization. Head and neck cancer (HNC) patients receiving radiation therapy (RT) may be a group that would particularly benefit from interventions focused on early symptom management. Methods Patients undergoing definitive RT for HNC were enrolled in a feasibility study and received ePRO surveys integrated within the electronic medical record (EMR) on a weekly basis during RT. After completion of each ePRO survey, a radiation oncology registered nurse documented the findings and subsequent interventions within the EMR. Results Thirty-four patients with HNC who received curative RT at a single center were enrolled. The total number of surveys completed was 194 with a median of 7 surveys per patient (range 1-8). There was a total of 887 individual abnormal findings reported on the ePROs, and the authors found that all 887 had a corresponding documented intervention. Post-treatment practitioner questionnaires highlighted that ePROs were felt to be helpful for the care team in providing care to HNC patients. Conclusion For patients with HNC receiving RT, ePROs can be effectively utilized to address patient symptoms within an integrated health care system. Creating an infrastructure for the use of ePROs integrated within the EMR in routine care requires an approach that accounts for local workflows and buy-in from patients and the entire care team.

Authors: Katzel, Jed A;Van Den Eeden, Stephen K;Basch, Ethan;et al.

Perm J. 2023 Sep 15;27(3):60-67. Epub 2023-08-28.

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