Research Areas


CTSA UL1TR001878

PennPRO: Automated patient-reported outcome collection among oncology patients

Principal Investigator: Lawrence Shulman, MD

Symptoms are common among patients with advanced malignancies receiving chemotherapy, and yet often remain unrecognized by treatment providers. Moreover, poor symptom management is a chief driver of emergency room utilization and hospital admission in this population, representing tremendous cost to patients, families, and the health care system.

Systematic collection of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) has been proposed as a way to arm providers with the information necessary to intervene early, intensify symptom management, and improve symptom control. Recent research suggests that when properly designed and implemented, systematic PRO collection leads to improved health-related quality of life, reduced acute care utilization, and prolonged overall survival. Despite mounting evidence supporting its use among oncology patients, systematic PRO collection is lacking at most cancer centers, including the Abramson Cancer Center, and optimal models for collection of PROs are unknown. Our proposal aims to develop, implement and evaluate an innovative, automated SMS-text based platform for systematic PRO collection.

We intend to perform a pilot randomized trial among patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, who are known to have high symptom burden, and to utilize acute care for poorly controlled symptoms. The intervention arm will leverage the Way To Health platform to elicit symptom scores at prespecified intervals, and will allow for real-time patient reporting of symptoms. A severe symptom, or any abrupt change in symptom severity, will trigger an alert to the patient’s care team, allowing for targeted interventions to improve symptom management.