CLINICAL TRIAL REPORT

A digital automated health monitoring system for oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: practical issues and lessons for the future

BJMO - volume 15, issue 6, october 2021

A. Requilé MD, D. Luyten MD, E. Dewaele MD, E. Joosens MD, H. Lenders RN , J. Lodewijckx MSc, J. Mebis MD, J. Robijns PhD, K. Wijnen PhD, P. Bulens MD, R. Hilkens RN , S. Bortels RN , S. Snoekx MSc, T. Wessels MD, W. Nassen RN , Y. Verheezen MD

SUMMARY

During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with cancer are subject to multiple risks (e.g., frequent hospital visits, increased infection risk, more severe clinical course, discontinued cancer treatment). Patients undergoing cancer therapy can face quality of life (QoL) – impairing side effects. Both for COVID-19 positive and negative patients who will continue or discontinue cancer treatment throughout the pandemic, providing supportive care is more important than ever. Digitally monitoring patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) could offer a solution to improve the supportive care during cancer treatment, and certainly in times of COVID–19.

A prospective cohort trial was performed between August 2020 and February 2021 at the Jessa Hospital (Hasselt, Belgium), evaluating the feasibility and usability of a digital patient monitoring (DPM) system to collect PROMs of oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on available evidence from our trial, digitalised PROMs could significantly contribute to improved communication, patient satisfaction, supportive care, monitoring cancer treatment, and detecting problems. However, the DPM system needs fine-tuning to lead to a patient and healthcare worker-friendly system, fully incorporated in the electronic health records without losing the personal contact between patient and healthcare team.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2021;15(6):292-303)

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