Patient Reported Outcomes and Unscheduled Health Services use During Oral Anti-Cancer Treatment

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Journal of pain and symptom management


CONTEXT: People on oral anti-cancer agents must self-manage their symptoms with less interaction with oncology providers compared to infusion treatments. Symptoms and physical function are key patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and may lead to unscheduled health services uses (urgent care and emergency department [ED] visits, hospitalizations), which in turn lead to increased health care costs.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the prediction of unscheduled health services uses using age, sex, and comorbidity, then determine the extent to which PRO data (symptoms and functioning) improve that prediction.

METHODS: This post-hoc exploratory analysis was based on data from the control group of a trial of medication adherence reminder and symptom self-management intervention for people starting a new oral anti-cancer agent (n = 117 analyzed). Severity and interference with daily life for 18 symptoms, physical function, and depressive symptoms were assessed at intake (oral agent start), and four, eight, and 12 weeks later. Unscheduled health services use during three four-week periods after the start of oral agents was analyzed using generalized mixed effects models in relation to age, sex, comorbidity, and PROs at the beginning of each time period.

RESULTS: The summed severity index of 18 symptoms and physical function were significant predictors of hospitalizations in the four weeks following PRO assessment. The addition of PROs improved areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves to be over .70 in most time periods.

CONCLUSION: Monitoring of PROs has the potential of reducing unscheduled health services use if supportive care interventions are deployed based on their levels.

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ePub ahead of print