Examine: Digital symptom monitoring improves most cancers sufferers’ high quality of life, bodily operate

Weekly digital symptom-tracking surveys improved bodily operate, symptom management and health-related high quality of life amongst most cancers sufferers, in response to a examine revealed in JAMA

In a randomized trial that included 52 practices and 1,191 sufferers receiving therapy for metastatic most cancers, researchers discovered statistically important enhancements in secondary outcomes like operate and high quality of life after a 3 month follow-up in contrast with traditional care. Outcomes on the first final result, total survival, weren’t but out there.

Within the survey group, sufferers had been requested to finish a weekly survey on-line or by way of an automatic cellphone system for one yr. They had been requested about signs like ache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dyspnea, insomnia and despair. 

The survey additionally included questions on consuming and consuming, falls, monetary challenges and their capability to take care of themselves and do every day duties. If a affected person reported extreme or worsening signs, an alert was triggered for the care workforce.

“On this report of secondary outcomes from a randomized scientific trial of adults receiving most cancers therapy, use of weekly digital PRO surveys to watch signs, in contrast with traditional care, resulted in statistically important enhancements in bodily operate, symptom management and HRQOL at 3 months, with imply enhancements of roughly 2.5 factors on a 0- to 100-point scale. These findings needs to be interpreted provisionally pending outcomes of the first final result of total survival,” the examine’s authors wrote. 


Researchers famous that figuring out signs early can stop them from getting worse and inflicting problems. Additionally they discovered that almost all sufferers had been capable of full the surveys, although they had been sick and a few had restricted expertise with know-how. 

Nonetheless, additionally they discovered the impact was smaller than in earlier single-center trials, and it diminished over time. Members within the intervention group had been additionally extra more likely to drop out, which might imply they discovered the survey burdensome. 

Different limitations embody the lacking main final result, restricted language choices for surveys, a scarcity of blinding and no management for the extra consideration the survey group might have acquired from suppliers. 

Although the examine demonstrates the potential advantages of symptom monitoring for most cancers sufferers, using the system might nonetheless be difficult for practices. 

“Implementation requires know-how, affected person engagement, employees effort and modification of knowledge circulate. A previous evaluation of person suggestions from this trial discovered excessive ranges of enthusiasm from sufferers and clinicians. Nonetheless, nurses reported that alerts could possibly be burdensome until there’s devoted time to handle the alerts,” researchers wrote.

“Regardless of price financial savings related to PRO monitoring for insurance coverage corporations, presently funding shouldn’t be out there to maintain further prices to clinics of know-how and staffing within the U.S.”


There are a selection of cancer-focused digital well being corporations available on the market. As an example, Finnish-born Kaiku Well being lately partnered with pharma and diagnostics big Roche to supply Kaiku’s instruments for most cancers symptom administration and assist to clinics and sufferers.

In the meantime, cancer-care-coordination platform Jasper Well being and residential care and distant monitoring firm Reimagine Care each lately raised $25 million in funding. 

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