What are ePROs and How Can They Benefit the Healthcare Industry?

If you’re  new to electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes or ePROs, here’s a quick overview of the technology and how it can help your patients and your practice.

What are ePROs?

ePROs, or electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes, enable patients to use their computers, smartphones, tablets or telephones to create an electronic diary of their treatment experience. Data received can include information on satisfaction of care, symptom burden, oral adherence and more. ePRO data can be integrated into the triage system, keeping patients engaged and actively involved in their care, while helping healthcare providers manage next steps. Because ePROs used structured questions and response options, patient information is more focused and easier to interpret.

ePRO data can be integrated into the triage system, keeping patients engaged and actively involved in their care, while helping healthcare providers manage next steps.

How do ePROs benefit cancer patients?

Multiple previously published studies have reported the benefits of integrating ePROs into routine care for cancer patients, including improvements in quality of life1, symptom control2, reductions in ED visits and overall survival3,4. Through ePRO programs, cancer patients can actively participate in their care by providing insights on their progress and symptoms. ePROs can also give these patients much needed cancer support and services related to their care. For example, our Health Tracker allows cancer patients to connect with their oncology care team, receive updates and instructions, have 24/7 access to customized care information, access personalized data, educational materials and self-care instructions, and connect with loved ones and the broader cancer community. When patients stay healthier during their treatment, it can result in more positive outcomes.

How do ePROs benefit oncology clinics?

ePRO solutions can help provide better care for cancer patients while increasing patient satisfaction, improving outcomes, and reducing costs. By using ePROs, the oncology clinic staff and physicians can save time and, in turn, have more meaningful patient interactions and faster interventions with digital information to reinforce patient care conversations. Patient-reported outcomes can help improve the quality of patient care by creating a holistic approach to clinical decision making.

Additionally, the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of ePROs to the center stage, as oncology clinics identify strategies to care for their patients virtually. ePRO solutions and the greater shift to a virtual care model allow providers to stay connected to their patients and keep them out of the hospital.

How do ePROs benefit a practice’s administrative staff?

For administrative staff, ePROs help save time and money because there is less need for printing, paper, and mailing and ePROs can also help reduce practice call volume. Administrators report that ePRO systems provide insights on improving their practices, while providing data for reports on OCM requirements and activities for MACRA, MIPS and APMs. Moreover, CMS has announced that the follow-up payment model to OCM, Oncology Care First (OCF), will include new requirements for collection of ePROs. .

How do ePROs benefit pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare partners?

ePROs can help pharmaceutical manufacturers understand real-world safety profiles of their own treatments and/or understand their safety profiles compared to other treatment options.

Data provided by patients who are treated with standard of care medications can be used as a comparison to drugs in clinical trials. Statistical methods can ensure that the two groups are comparable, enabling pharma to use the data to help prove that the new therapies are safe. Beyond competitive differentiation, real-world ePRO data allows for patients to better understand quality of life indicators of therapies outside of controlled clinical trial settings. This enables patients to make informed decisions based on their individual needs, increasing adherence and satisfaction with their respective therapy.

ePRO data can also help move research forward. Researchers can define cohorts based on indications, mutations, and other characteristics, and gather ePRO longitudinally over time to understand the toxicities associated with a particular drug regime in real-time. This may enable research, as well as, adjustments to dosing regimens based on real-world data to increase the efficacy of the treatment. The real-world data gathered through ePRO technologies helps accelerate clinical programs, develop real-world comparators, and evaluate comparative effectiveness. The data collected from ePRO technologies can reliably and rapidly inform pharmaceutical manufacturers beyond a randomized controlled trial and help them develop innovative new medicines.

Health Tracker is an electronic patient-reported outcomes program that enables cancer care providers to deliver remote care and improve patient safety.

Learn more 

1. Velikova G, Booth L, Smith AB, et al: Measuring quality of life in routine oncology practice improves communication and patient well-being: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol 22:714-724, 2004M

2. Cleeland CS, Wang XS, Shi Q, et al: Automated symptom alerts reduce postoperative symptom severity after cancer surgery: A randomized controlled clinical trial. J Clin Oncol 29:994-1000, 2011

3. Basch E, Deal AM, Dueck AC, et al: Overall survival results of a trial assessing patient-reported outcomes for symptom monitoring during routine cancer treatment. JAMA 318:197-198, 2017 9

4. Basch E, Deal AM, Kris MG, et al: Symptom monitoring with patient-reported outcomes during routine cancer treatment: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol 34:557-565, 2016

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