Chemotherapy patients whose symptoms were tracked remotely had significantly lower anxiety and better quality of life compared to those left to warn doctors themselves about potentially disturbing side effects.
Researchers at the University of Strathclyde say that digital technology that routinely monitors people at home can make a “meaningful difference” for people with cancer.
Their discovery, Published in the BMJ todayFollow a 3-year study of 829 patients with potentially curable cancers at centers in Austria, Greece, Norway, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Half of the participants were assigned to the ASyMS Group, a digital tracker system that monitors and manages chemotherapy toxicity in real time 24 hours a day.
These patients were asked to complete a daily questionnaire assessing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, and pain.
I was also asked to submit daily temperature readings using a digital thermometer.
This symptom data is automatically evaluated by the ASyMS algorithm and, if necessary, an orange or red alert is generated directly to the hospital clinician.
Amber presents with mild to moderate symptoms and can be stopped with early intervention, while red indicates an emergency of chemotherapy such as neutropenic sepsis.
Clinicians assigned a dedicated cell phone were expected to respond to the red warning within 30 minutes.
Of the 3456 red alerts triggered during the trial, 85% responded within the target time and 1,207 led to referrals to the hospital’s oncology department.
However, most (1600+) can be mitigated by the self-care advice provided by the app.
Of the 3746 Amber Alerts that clinicians took eight hours to respond to, 95% achieved their target time.
This system was devised to combat problems in the management of chemotherapy and its side effects.
The authors state that “undertreatment of symptoms reduces adherence to treatment and leads to disability.” health “Relevant quality of life, increased use of medical services, and mortality,” he added, “the current symptomatology assessment mechanism allows patients to recognize that their symptoms are severe enough to justify reporting.” Depends on.
“Uncertainty, delays in reporting, and lack of access to 24-hour service often result in insufficient recognition of toxicity quickly enough to jeopardize patient safety.”
They also stated that anxiety was “the most common psychological symptom after a diagnosis of cancer.”
There were a total of 6 deaths (3 in the AsyMS group and 3 in the control group), with similar unplanned hospitalizations in 120 and 109, respectively.
More cases of neutropenic sepsis were detected in AsyMS patients than in the control group (125 vs. 71), which was “expected because more identification was the intent of the intervention.” was.
Roma McGwire, a senior researcher at the University of Strathclyde’s Digital Health and Care professor, showed that the technology had no safety issues, but larger studies reduced mortality and hospitalization. He said it needed to be shown.
“The ASyMS system, designed to detect symptoms, including life-threatening infections, early in orbit, may have these effects in the future as a result of using this system,” she said. rice field.
However, the study found a “significant reduction” in anxiety and physical symptoms in the AsyMS group, as well as a marked improvement in quality of life and a reduction in the need for daily life support.
“I don’t think we can underestimate it,” said Professor McGwire.
“It is very important for the patient’s experience, because if someone has a good quality of life that can manifest in many ways, including cancer survival.”
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