Improving outcomes through patient engagement and PROs

Woman interacting with tablet being held by her doctor.

A patient-engaged approach to cancer care has been shown to improve outcomes and the entire patient experience. When patients can report their symptoms easily, those symptoms can be managed in a more timely fashion, reducing visits to emergency departments and improving medication adherence as well as other key aspects of cancer care.  

In 2019, Navigating Cancer captured patient-reported outcome (PRO) data from 91,000 patients, and the feedback was pretty interesting. Pain was the most commonly reported symptom, representing 20% of the symptoms reported. Fatigue and nausea came in second and third, with a large host of different symptoms reported across the patient population. Pain, and certainly nausea, when unreported and untreated, can lead patients to skip medications or take other actions that don’t align with what is best for them.  

Effective patient engagement extends beyond just capturing data; it also includes acting on that data to improve the patient experience and care.  Options to improve care include:

  • Facilitating quick communications between the patient and their care team
  • Ensuring patients have easy, electronic access to homecare instructions
  • Providing educational material to support symptom management
  • Giving patients access to information like health records 

Focused patient engagement tools that are powered by PRO data are essential to creating a “patient-first” approach to cancer care delivery.  And beyond improving care, better patient engagement can also improve value-based care performance. Keeping patients engaged can create a more meaningful patient-provider relationship, help care teams track symptoms and intervene sooner to avoid ED visits, or even just make patients feel a little less alone or scared during their treatment journey. 

Putting PROs into practice

Patient-reported outcomes data creates valuable output from “patient listening.” Once PROs are captured and seamlessly delivered to the patient’s care team, they can act on that information to provide better care. Today there are tools that enable providers to hear what is going on with patients. Our oncology patient relationship management solution at Navigating Cancer is built from this patient-first approach to allow practices to impact every patient’s care and outcomes – wherever they are and whenever they need. 

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