Mobile Devices and Electronic Systems: Are They the Future of Communication Between Patients and Their Health Care Teams?

Lee Schwartzberg, MD, FACP
October 17, 2016
Lee Schwartzberg, MD, FACP

Lee Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, is a medical oncologist and hematologist at West Cancer Center. Dr. Schwartzberg's major research interests are new therapeutic approaches to breast cancer, targeted therapy, and supportive care. He specializes in the treatment of breast cancer.

In this podcast, Dr. Lee Schwartzberg of the West Cancer Center discusses the importance of using electronic patient-reported outcomes (PROs) when caring for patients with cancer. PROs allow health care professionals to monitor a patient’s treatment side effects, disease complications, ability to perform normal daily activities (called functional status), and mental and emotional health. Electronic systems offer even more possibilities, such as easy analysis of symptoms and long-term tracking of patient surveys.

The ideal electronic PRO (ePRO) platform is reliable, can send automated responses to and from patients, has the ability to schedule appointments, and sends real-time alerts to doctors and patients. Many ePRO systems have been developed and are beginning to be used, often with tablet computers. The Patient Care Monitor is an example of a system like this. Recent clinical trials have found that ePRO systems are an effective way of providing information. This effective delivery of information can improve patient care in many ways, including fewer visits to the doctor and less time in treatment. ePROs are also being used more often in clinical trials, where they can provide more complete information on side effects than other methods. Mobile devices could become the main way that all members of the cancer care team communicate with their patients, including at office visits and between them. share on twitter=

Major Discussion Points

  • What are electronic patient-reported outcomes [2:07]?
  • An example of how an ePRO sends patient health information to health care professionals [3:05].
  • How patients use an ePRO [3:56].
  • Have ePRO systems been effective in clinical trials [4:26]?
  • New features and capabilities of ePRO systems [5:04].

This is a prerecorded audio podcast. It can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. A transcript of this podcast is also available. For more information, visit the Cancer.Net podcast page.


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