Assessing Patient Readiness for an Electronic Patient-Reported Outcome-Based Symptom Management Intervention in a Multisite Study

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JCO oncology practice


PURPOSE: While the use of electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) in routine clinical practice is increasing, barriers to patient engagement limit adoption. Studies have focused on technology access as a key barrier, yet other characteristics may also confound readiness to use ePROs including patients' confidence in using technology and confidence in asking clinicians questions. METHODS: To assess readiness to use ePROs, adult patients from six US-based health systems who started a new oncology treatment or underwent a cancer-directed surgery were invited to complete a survey that assessed access to and confidence in the use of technology, ease of asking clinicians questions about health, and symptom management self-efficacy. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression models were fit to assess the association between technology confidence, ease of asking questions, and symptom management self-efficacy. RESULTS: We contacted 3,212 individuals, and 1,043 (33%) responded. The median age was 63 years, 68% were female, and 75% reported having access to patient portals. Over 80% had two or more electronic devices. Most patients reported high technology confidence, higher ease of asking clinicians questions, and high symptom management self-efficacy (n = 692; 66%). Patients with high technology confidence also reported higher ease of asking nurses about their health (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 4.58 [95% CI, 2.36 to 8.87]; ≤ .001). Those who reported higher ease of asking nurses questions were more likely to report higher confidence in managing symptoms (AOR, 30.54 [95% CI, 12.91 to 72.30]; ≤ .001). CONCLUSION: Patient readiness to use ePROs likely depends on multiple factors, including technology and communication confidence, and symptom management self-efficacy. Future studies should assess interventions to address these factors.

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