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Enhancing Patient-Provider Communication With The Electronic Self-Report Assessment For Cancer: A Randomized Trial

Donna L. Berry, Brent A. Blumenstein, Barbara Halpenny, Seth Wolpin, Jesse R. Fann, Mary Austin-Seymour, Nigel Bush, Bryant T. Karras, William B. Lober, Ruth McCorkle

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Purpose Although patient-reported cancer symptoms and quality-of-life issues (SQLIs) have been promoted as essential to a comprehensive assessment, efficient and efficacious methods have not been widely tested in clinical settings. The purpose of this trial was to determine the effect of the Electronic Self-Report Assessment–Cancer (ESRA-C) on the likelihood of SQLIs discussed between clinicians and patients with cancer in ambulatory clinic visits. Secondary objectives included comparison of visit duration between groups and usefulness of the ESRA-C as reported by clinicians. Patients and Methods This randomized controlled trial was conducted in 660 patients with various cancer diagnoses and stages at two institutions of a comprehensive cancer center. Patient-reported SQLIs were automatically displayed on a graphical summary and provided to the clinical team before an on-treatment visit (n = 327); in the control group, no summary was provided (n = 333). SQLIs were scored for level of severity or distress. One on-treatment clinic visit was audio recorded for each participant and then scored for discussion of each SQLI. We hypothesized that problematic SQLIs would be discussed more often when the intervention was delivered to the clinicians. Results The likelihood of SQLIs being discussed differed by randomized group and depended on whether an SQLI was first reported as problematic (P = .032). Clinic visits were similar with regard to duration between groups, and clinicians reported the summary as useful. Conclusion The ESRA-C is the first electronic self-report application to increase discussion of SQLIs in a US randomized clinical trial.