Amy Ellis on the Benefits of ePROs in Cancer Care

Electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) tools can benefit patients by keeping them on treatment longer, and the pandemic has likely accelerated how many practices move to using ePROs, said Amy Ellis, chief quality officer at Northwest Medical Specialties.

Electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) tools can benefit patients by keeping them on treatment longer, and the pandemic has likely accelerated how many practices move to using ePROs, said Amy Ellis, chief quality officer at Northwest Medical Specialties.

Transcript

How can electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) impact treatment plans for patients?

There's been studies that have shown that using ePRO tools actually extends the duration that patients are on treatment. And that's really going to be part of our goal is we want to bridge the gap of when the patients in our office, of course, they're telling us all of these things, and we're managing their symptoms, and we're taking care of their cancer, [but] when they're outside of our office walls, there's a lot going on. And so, we really want to bridge that gap and make sure that patients have an avenue to report symptoms to us with the goal of really improving their outcomes and keeping them on treatment longer.

Are ePROs getting a boost because of the pandemic or are the practices looking to implement them the ones that were already moving in that direction?

I think it's probably a mixed bag of, you know, pandemic ePROs versus practices that already planned on doing that. Our practice specifically, we have been planning on this for several years. We actually, back in 2017, we did try to implement an ePRO tool. And we learned a lot from that. I think the most patients we ever had on it was about 15. We learned a lot about functionality, the time points and when those should be administered in the clinic. All of those things are really a significant factor in the success of implementing something like this.

So, our practice specifically was looking at this long before the pandemic, but other practices, I bet they are looking at implementing ePROs because of the pandemic. Because we're trying to reduce volumes in the clinics, we're trying to check in with patients when they're outside of the clinic. And ePROs was a really a great solution for that.