Use of an electronic patient-reported outcome measurement system to improve distress management in oncology.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Management of patient distress is a critical task in cancer nursing and cancer practice. Here we describe two examples of how an electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) measurement system implemented into routine oncology care can practically aid clinical and research tasks related to distress management.


Tablet personal computers were used to routinely complete a standardized ePRO review of systems surveys at point of care during every encounter in the Duke Oncology outpatient clinics. Two cases of use implementation are explored: (1) triaging distressed patients for optimal care, and (2) psychosocial program evaluation research.


Between 2009 and 2011, the ePRO system was used to collect information during 17,338 Duke Oncology patient encounters. The system was used to monitor patients for psychosocial distress employing an electronic clinical decision support algorithm, with 1,952 (11.3%) referrals generated for supportive services. The system was utilized to examine the efficacy of a psychosocial care intervention documenting statistically significant improvements in distress, despair, fatigue, and quality of life (QOL) in 50 breast cancer patients.

Significance of results

ePRO solutions can guide best practice management of cancer patient distress. Nurses play a key role in implementation and utilization.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smith, SK; Rowe, K; Abernethy, AP

Published Date

  • February 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 69 - 73

PubMed ID

  • 24128592

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4066540

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1478-9523

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1478-9515

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/s1478951513000345


  • eng