Cancer patients are predominantly treated as out-patients and as they often experience difficult symptoms and side effects it is important to facilitate and improve patient-clinician communication to support symptom management and self-care | BMC Cancer
Background: Although the number of projects within supportive cancer care evaluating mobile health is increasing, few evidence-based interventions are described in the literature and thus there is a need for good quality clinical studies with a randomised design and sufficient power to guide future implementations. An interactive information and communications technology platform, including a smartphone/computer tablet app for reporting symptoms during cancer treatment was created in collaboration with a company specialising in health care management. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the effects of using the platform for patients with breast cancer during neo adjuvant chemotherapy treatment and patients with locally advanced prostate cancer during curative radiotherapy treatment. The main hypothesis is that the use of the platform will improve clinical management, reduce costs, and promote safe and participatory care.
Method: The study is a prospective, randomised, controlled trial for each patient group and it is based on repeated measurements. Patients are consecutively included and randomised. The intervention groups report symptoms via the app daily, during treatment and up to three weeks after end of treatment, as a complement to standard care. Patients in the control groups receive standard care alone. Outcomes targeted are symptom burden, quality of life, health literacy (capacity to understand and communicate health needs and promote healthy behaviours), disease progress and health care costs. Data will be collected before and after treatment by questionnaires, registers, medical records and biomarkers. Lastly, participants will be interviewed about participatory and meaningful care.
Discussion: Results will generate knowledge to enhance understanding about how to develop person-centred care using mobile technology. Supporting patients’ involvement in their care to identify problems early, promotes more timely initiation of necessary treatment. This can benefit patients treated outside the hospital setting in regard to maintaining their safety.
Full reference: Langius-Eklöf, A. et al. (2017) Effects of an interactive mHealth innovation for early detection of patient-reported symptom distress with focus on participatory care: protocol for a study based on prospective, randomised, controlled trials in patients with prostate and breast cancer. BMC Cancer. 17:466