Using ePROMs for follow-up after palliative radiotherapy: an exploratory study with patients and health care providers.

Background and Aim:
Patients treated with palliative radiotherapy may experience treatment- or disease-related symptoms decreasing their quality of life. Electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROMs) could provide an opportunity to follow-up patients after treatment, when they are at home. In our study, we explore the current views of patients and healthcare providers regarding the content, the acceptance and opportunities of systematically offered ePROMS.

Materials & Methods:
A mixed-method study was performed using self-constructed questionnaires, focus groups and interviews with patients and health care professionals (HCP) in primary as well as hospital care. A qualitative approach was used to code the data.

 

Results:
Forty-two patients, 21 radiation-oncologists, 15 general practitioners (GPs) and 24 home-care nurses completed a questionnaire. Ten patients, 6 radiation oncologists, 14 GPs and 5 nurses agreed to be interviewed or participated in a focus group. Although patients and HCP are satisfied with current care, they believe systematically offered ePROMs could improve follow-up, communication, continuity of care, and self-management of symptoms. An easy to use, versatile ePROM platform seems to be the most important feature for successful implementation. Self-care tips and contact information should be added to relevant ePROM-questions, on both physical and psychological symptoms to encourage the use of ePROMs for both patients and HCP.

 

Discussion and Conclusion:
Patients and HCP agree that ePROMs could improve systematical clinical follow-up after palliative radiotherapy, with self-management support being the primary objective of such a system. The exact patient population that could benefit the most from an ePROM-based follow-up after radiotherapy will be explored in further studies. "

Authors

E. Oldenburger(1,2), I. Neyens(3), A. Coolbrandt(4), S. Isebaert(1,) A. Sevenants(3), Ch. Van Audenhove(3), K. Haustermans(1)

Organisations

"(1) Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium & Department of Oncology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (2) Department of Palliative Care, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium (3) LUCAS KU Leuven Centre for Care Research & Consultancy, Leuven, Belgium (4) Department of General Medical Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium "

Presenting author

Eva Oldenburger, PhD student/Radiation Oncologist, KU Leuven/UZ Leuven
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