Dr Sophia Smith Highlights the Importance of Patient-Reported Outcomes

Listening to patient-reported outcomes, especially in clinical trials, is extremely important, especially the array of technology available to collect this information, said Sophia K. Smith, PhD, MSW, associate professor at the Duke School of Nursing.

Listening to patient-reported outcomes, especially in clinical trials, is extremely important, especially the array of technology available to collect this information, said Sophia K. Smith, PhD, MSW, associate professor at the Duke School of Nursing.

Transcript (modified)

Can the introduction of patient-centeredness in clinical trials, such as measures of patient-reported outcomes (PROs), be considered palliative care?

I’m a big proponent of hearing from the patient. I think PROs are extremely important, particularly in clinical trials. There’s different ways to collect this information. I think that we should really look at technology to help leverage that with electronic patient-reported outcomes systems

I know that a lot of our medical systems have electronic health records now, such as Epic, and they actually have survey capability built in. There’s other tools such as Apple Research Kit, where we can provide surveys on mobile devices, so a lot of our patients, particularly our younger patients and our patients who may use their smartphone as their only connection to the internet, being able to put these PROs out there for them to use on their mobile devices is really important.

I am also a big proponent of the distress thermometers, so you could probably characterize that as a PRO, but each time our cancer patients come in for their treatment or a visit we ask them how distressed they are and then we list a series of areas that they might be distressed in. For example, financial distress, emotional distress, maybe relationship problems, maybe some spiritual crisis. So that’s another form of PROs and, again, as early in the process as you can introduce these things the better.