Using Patient Reported Outcomes in Oncology Clinical Practice.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Patient reported outcomes (PROs) are increasingly being implemented into the care of patients with cancer. The use of a standard set of PROs (e.g., pain) in cancer is becoming established and there is interest in what additional PROs might provide valuable information. The goal of this observational study was to examine how the PROs of self-efficacy for pain and other symptoms assessed at the point of service were associated with pain, symptom severity and distress, and physical and psychosocial functioning in a sample of breast and gastrointestinal patients. We also sought to examine differences in these relationships by cancer type (breast and gastrointestinal) as well as understand differences in self-assessment mode (paper/pencil or electronic tablet). METHODS: 178 patients with breast (n=65) and gastrointestinal cancer (n = 113) completed the Chronic Pain Self Efficacy Scale, M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General questionnaires. Measures were completed with paper and pencil and electronically using a tablet computer while patients waited for their clinical appointment. Responses from the initial completed questionnaires on both the paper and electronic instruments were analyzed. RESULTS: Patients' self-efficacy scores for pain and other symptoms correlated positively with pain, symptom severity and distress, and physical and psychosocial functioning; patients with lower levels of self-efficacy reported poorer outcomes and functioning overall. The results were independent of cancer type and mode of assessment. No statistically significant differences were found in the PROs when collected by electronic technology versus paper-pencil mode; patients were very satisfied with using the tablet computer to complete the PRO measures. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Our results suggest that self-efficacy for pain and symptom management may be a beneficial addition to clinic-based PRO assessment batteries for patients with cancer and other chronic diseases. Existing short, validated symptom self-efficacy scales could easily be integrated into clinical practice to help healthcare providers identify patients that might benefit from intervention. Study results also support existing research that suggests electronic approaches are a practical way to collect PRO data, including self-efficacy data, in the clinic. Overall, our data suggest that patients who have particularly low levels of self-efficacy for pain and symptom management may be at risk for higher levels of pain and disability. Thus, if self-efficacy for pain and symptom management were routinely collected at the time of clinical service, psychosocial interventions to improve self-efficacy for pain and symptom management, and in turn overall quality of life, could be implemented in a timely fashion.
Kelleher, SA; Somers, TJ; Locklear, T; Crosswell, AD; Abernethy, AP
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