Examine: Digital symptom monitoring improves most cancers sufferers’ high quality of life, bodily operate


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Weekly digital symptom-tracking surveys improved bodily operate, symptom management and health-related high quality of life amongst most cancers sufferers, in accordance with a examine revealed in JAMA

In a randomized trial that included 52 practices and 1,191 sufferers receiving remedy for metastatic most cancers, researchers discovered statistically important enhancements in secondary outcomes like operate and high quality of life after a 3 month follow-up in contrast with typical care. Outcomes on the first final result, total survival, weren’t but obtainable.

Within the survey group, sufferers have been requested to finish a weekly survey on-line or via an automatic telephone system for one 12 months. They have been requested about signs like ache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dyspnea, insomnia and despair. 

The survey additionally included questions on consuming and ingesting, falls, monetary challenges and their skill to look after themselves and do every day duties. If a affected person reported extreme or worsening signs, an alert was triggered for the care crew.

“On this report of secondary outcomes from a randomized scientific trial of adults receiving most cancers remedy, use of weekly digital PRO surveys to watch signs, in contrast with typical care, resulted in statistically important enhancements in bodily operate, symptom management and HRQOL at 3 months, with imply enhancements of roughly 2.5 factors on a 0- to 100-point scale. These findings needs to be interpreted provisionally pending outcomes of the first final result of total survival,” the examine’s authors wrote. 


Researchers famous that figuring out signs early can stop them from getting worse and inflicting issues. Additionally they discovered that almost all sufferers have been in a position to full the surveys, though they have been sick and a few had restricted expertise with expertise. 

Nevertheless, additionally they discovered the impact was smaller than in earlier single-center trials, and it diminished over time. Members within the intervention group have been additionally extra prone to drop out, which might imply they discovered the survey burdensome. 

Different limitations embody the lacking major final result, restricted language choices for surveys, an absence of blinding and no management for the extra consideration the survey group could have obtained from suppliers. 

Although the examine demonstrates the potential advantages of symptom monitoring for most cancers sufferers, using the system might nonetheless be difficult for practices. 

“Implementation requires expertise, affected person engagement, employees effort and modification of data circulation. A previous evaluation of consumer suggestions from this trial discovered excessive ranges of enthusiasm from sufferers and clinicians. Nevertheless, nurses reported that alerts could possibly be burdensome except there may be devoted time to handle the alerts,” researchers wrote.

“Regardless of value financial savings related to PRO monitoring for insurance coverage corporations, at the moment funding isn’t obtainable to maintain extra prices to clinics of expertise and staffing within the U.S.”


There are a selection of cancer-focused digital well being corporations in the marketplace. As an illustration, Finnish-born Kaiku Well being not too long ago partnered with pharma and diagnostics big Roche to supply Kaiku’s instruments for most cancers symptom administration and assist to clinics and sufferers.

In the meantime, cancer-care-coordination platform Jasper Well being and residential care and distant monitoring firm Reimagine Care each not too long ago raised $25 million in funding. 

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