Patients' experiences of engaging with electronic Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) after the completion of radiation therapy for breast cancer: a pilot service evaluation

Jane Hughes, Terri Flood

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Abstract

Introduction
Over 60 % of people who develop breast cancer will receive radiation therapy (RT) as part of their treatment. Side effects of RT may include inflammation, erythema, desquamation and fatigue. Electronic Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (ePROMs) enable patients to report side effects prior to their scheduled post‐RT appointment. This pilot service evaluation aims to explore patients' perceptions regarding the value of the ePROM system, ease of its use and barriers to using the system, after breast irradiation.

Methods
From July–November 2021, evaluation surveys were posted to 100 people who had received RT to their breast to explore their experience of using the ePROM. Ethical approval was obtained through Ulster University and the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT), Northern Ireland.

Results
Fifty‐two people responded to the survey, of which 27 respondents indicated that they had accessed the ePROM. Despite few participants experiencing significant side effects, the majority of participants recommended the ePROM indicating that it was an important source of support. Those who experienced significant side effects found the system to be prompt and effective. Barriers to accessing the ePROM included technical issues with the link, concerns about confidentiality and forgetting to access the link. Access to the ePROM increased with higher education levels.

Conclusions
This pilot service evaluation demonstrated that ePROMs are valued by patients and can provide rapid real‐time access to support, offering individual care and reassurance. For patients with longer RT schedules (>10 fractions), the introduction of ePROMs during RT was viewed favourably by participants. All patients may benefit from the option of receiving ePROMs post‐RT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-435
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical Radiation Sciences
Volume70
Issue number4
Early online date7 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 7 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank all participants who competed the survey for this study. We would also like to thank Professor Alan Nevill (University of Wolverhampton) who kindly provided assistance with statistical analysis of the survey data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy and New Zealand Institute of Medical Radiation Technology.

Keywords

  • PROM
  • review
  • radiation therapy
  • follow-up
  • breast
  • experience
  • patient

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