Dr. Basch was the recipient of the Clinical Research Award at ACCC’s National Oncology Conference in Orlando last week. This award recognizes individuals whose research has significantly and positively impacted the oncology patient. Dr. Basch has done this with his work with public and private agencies to bring the patient voice into clinical research for safer drug development, improved quality of life, enhanced patient communication, and better patient experience.
He shared some remarks about his work when he received the award, acknowledging the importance of communication between patients and their care team. He also highlighted the important role that electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO) can play as one of the mechanisms to connect with patients on how they’re feeling and functioning during treatment and tap more into the experiences of patients to enhance care.
Importance of Electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes
Dr. Basch also shared why symptom monitoring via ePROs is so important. Symptoms are incredibly common among cancer patients – treatments are toxic and symptoms may hang over the heads of many patients, interfering significantly with life. From a healthcare standpoint – they are a main driver of ED and hospital utilization. Symptom management is a cornerstone of quality cancer care, but there are difficulties in connecting with patients. He commented on the barriers for patients including:
- Limited time during office visits
- Forget to bring up symptoms
- Afraid treatment will be stopped
- Worried they’re not meeting criteria of being a “good” patient
- Reluctant to report symptoms when at home (don’t want to bother anyone, don’t know when a symptom should be reported, find it hard to get through to their care team)
This is where Dr. Basch sees an opportunity to “harness technology” to move from reactive to proactive care. He challenged the notion that technology creates a wedge between patients and providers. Through his research he’s found technology can actually bring them closer together, pointing out how a proactive approach leveraging technology enables the care team to become aware of issues earlier and makes patients feel more cared for.
His research also found you can go from understanding 50% of symptoms to 90% in some cases with ePROs – patients are willing and able to report symptoms and clinicians trust the information. Dr. Basch has been collecting this type of data since the early 2000s and patient feedback is overwhelmingly positive. He also said fears that collecting this information would increase workloads are not true since it enables the care team to intervene before symptoms worsen and become more complicated to manage.
And it works – his research has concluded that patients are more satisfied, hospitalizations are reduced, and patients survive longer. His research found patients were able to stay on treatment two months longer because they are being proactively helped to manage symptoms.
His concluding slide was particularly impactful:
- Integration of patient-reported symptoms into cancer care is feasible and is associated with tangible clinical benefits
- This approach may be considered for inclusion as a part of standard symptom management plan to improve and measure quality of care
- Future efforts should focus on strategies for implementing self-reporting into clinical workflow and electronic health records
As a Scientific Medical Advisor for Navigating Cancer, Dr. Basch is helping Navigating Cancer on strategy and implementation of our PRO and remote monitoring solutions in the market. We are really excited about the growing momentum for this added layer of care for cancer patients.
Interested in learning more about Navigating Cancer’s ePRO tool, Health Tracker? Contact us today!