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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2009 Jun;37(6):1027-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2008.07.011. Epub 2009 Apr 25.

Feasibility and acceptability to patients of a longitudinal system for evaluating cancer-related symptoms and quality of life: pilot study of an e/Tablet data-collection system in academic oncology.

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1
Division of Medical Oncology, Center for Clinical Health Policy Research, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3436, 1 Trent Drive, Durham, NC 27710 USA. amy.abernethy@duke.edu

Abstract

Programmed, notebook-style, personal computers ("e/Tablets") can collect symptom and quality-of-life (QOL) data at the point of care. Patients use an e/Tablet in the clinic waiting area to complete electronic surveys. Information then travels wirelessly to a server, which generates a real-time report for use during the clinical visit. The objective of this study was to determine whether academic oncology patients find e/Tablets logistically acceptable and a satisfactory means of communicating symptoms to providers during repeated clinic visits. Sixty-six metastatic breast cancer patients at Duke Breast Cancer Clinic participated. E/Tablets were customized to electronically administer a satisfaction/acceptability survey, several validated questionnaires, and the Patient Care Monitor (PCM) review of symptoms survey. At each of the four visits within six months, participants completed the patient satisfaction/acceptability survey, which furnished data for the current analysis. Participant demographics were: mean age of 54 years, 77% Caucasian, and 47% with less than a college education. Participants reported that e/Tablets were easy to read (94%), easy to navigate (99%), and had a comfortable weight (90%); they found it easy to respond to questions using the e/Tablet (98%). Seventy-five percent initially indicated satisfaction with PCM for reporting symptoms; this proportion increased over time. By the last visit, 88% of participants indicated that they would recommend the PCM to other patients; 74% felt that the e/Tablet helped them remember symptoms to report to their clinician. E/Tablets offered a feasible and acceptable method for collecting longitudinal patient-reported symptom and QOL data within an academic, tertiary care, breast cancer clinic.

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