J Patient Rep Outcomes. 2022 Jun 20;6(1):70. doi: 10.1186/s41687-022-00475-6.
BACKGROUND: To realize the broader benefits of electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROMs) in routine care, we used the RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) framework to inform the translation of a clinically effective ePROM system (hereafter referred to as the PRM system) into practice. The study aimed to evaluate the processes and success of implementing the PRM system in the routine care of patients diagnosed with lung cancer.
METHOD: A controlled before-and-after mixed-methods study was undertaken. Data sources included a self-report questionnaire and interviews with healthcare providers, electronic health record data for PRMs patients and historical controls, and field notes. Descriptive statistics, logistic regression modelling, negative binomial models, generalized estimating equations and repeated measures ANOVA were used to analyze quantitative data. Qualitative data was thematically analyzed.
RESULTS: A total of 48/79 eligible people diagnosed with lung cancer completed 90 assessments during the 5-month implementation period (RE-AIM reach). Every assessment breached the pre-defined threshold and care coordinators reviewed and actioned 95.6% of breaches, resulting in 146 referrals to allied health services, most frequently for social work (25.3%), dietetics (18.5%), physiotherapy (18.5%) and occupational therapy (17.1%). PRMs patients had significantly fewer visits to the cancer assessment unit for problematic symptoms (M = 0.23 vs. M = 0.43; p = 0.035), and were significantly more likely to be offered referrals (71% vs. 29%, p < 0.0001) than historical controls (RE-AIM effect). The levels of ‘organizational readiness for implementing change’ (ORIC) did not show much differences between baseline and follow-up, though this was already high at baseline; but significantly more staff reported improved confidence when asking patients to complete assessments (64.7% at baseline vs. 88.2% at follow-up, p = 0.0046), and when describing the assessment tool to patients (64.7% at baseline vs. 76.47% at follow-up, p = 0.0018) (RE-AIM adoption). A total of 78 staff received PRM system training, and 95.6% of the PRM system alerts were actioned (RE-AIM implementation); and all lung cancer care coordinators were engaged with the PRM system beyond the end of the study period (RE-AIM maintenance).
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the potential of the PRM system in enhancing the routine care of lung cancer patients, through leveraging the capabilities of automated web-based care options. Research has shown the clear benefits of using electronically collected patient-reported outcome measures (ePROMs) for cancer patients and health services. However, we need to better understand how to implement ePROMs as part of routine care. This study evaluated the processes and outcomes of implementing an ePROMs system in the routine care of patients diagnosed with lung cancer. Key findings included: (a) a majority of eligible patients completed the scheduled assessments; (b) patient concerns were identified in every assessment, and care coordinators reviewed and actioned almost all of these, including making significantly more referrals to allied health services; (c) patients completing assessments regularly were less likely to present to the cancer assessment unit with problematic symptoms, suggesting that ePROMs identified patient concerns early and this led to a timely response to concerns; (d) staff training and engagement was high, and staff reporting increased confidence when asking patients to complete assessments and when describing the assessment tool to patients at the end of the implementation period. This study shows that implementing ePROMs in routine care is feasible and can lead to improvements in patient care.