New Research on Web-Based Tool for Self-Reporting Symptoms

Last Updated: May 11, 2018

Dr. Daniel Hayes discusses new research from the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.

Learn more about this research.


Cancer.Net®: Doctor-Approved Patient Information from ASCO®

Web-Based System for Self-Reporting Symptoms Helps Patients Live Longer

ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO: This group started this trial some time ago, and their concept was that you only have access to your doctor every so often. Once a week at most. Maybe once every 3 weeks, when you come in to get treated. And in my own practice, I find people find it difficult to call me. I can't make house calls easily, and so they just sort of store up their symptoms until they come see me and then they've got a lot of problems.

What they did is a trial in which half the patients were treated in the usual fashion which is good care but the other half were given access to web-based systems in which they could speak with the nurse or nurse practitioner. "I've got a headache," or whatever, and get this problem solved in between their doctor visits.

They've already reported a few years ago that that resulted in patients feeling better, not going to the emergency room as much, not getting admitted. That's all great. We're not trying to have people live in an emergency room, we're trying to have them live their lives.

But they got interested in, what if there was more to this, and so they went back and searched the databases of whether people were alive or not. And what they found was that in addition to feeling better, they actually lived longer. Now it's hard to say why, and to their credit these investigators also said, "This is interesting, but we're not sure of this."

So they've started a new big trial, and actually they're taking advantage of new technologies now that didn't exist when they started this. And I'm pretty excited about this. I think even if we don't improve survival, we're going to improve the way people live, and that's what we're trying to do. But if this also improves survival, then we should be putting resources into being sure that every patient has access to this kind of care when they can't get access to their doctor every day. I mean it's just not practical. This gives you a "virtual doctor," if you will, or virtual nurse, which is fabulous. And I think this is really great. I give these guys a lot of credit.

[Closing and Credits]

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