Eliciting symptom and quality of life information from patients is an important component of medical and nursing care processes. Traditionally, this information has been collected with paper and pencil. However, this approach presents several barriers, including delays in receiving information, difficulty in integrating responses with electronic records, and the time required to manually score questionnaires for measurement purposes. One solution that addresses many of these barriers is the adoption of computerized screening for symptom and quality-of-life information. This research explored the acceptability of asking symptom and quality-of-life questions using the Electronic Self Report Assessment-Cancer program on wireless laptops equipped with touch-screen format. Acceptability data were explored with respect to whether any differences may be attributed to demographics and symptom and quality-of-life levels, such as depression and cognitive and emotional functioning. This evaluation used descriptive and univariate statistics to examine data from 342 participants from the ongoing ESRA-C randomized clinical trial. Research participants for the ESRA-C study were recruited from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, a consortium among the University of Washington Medical Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, WA. The sample consisted of 342 adult participants who completed both baseline and follow-up survey sessions. Medical oncology represented the largest recruitment group (45.3%), followed by stem cell transplant (34.5%) and radiation oncology (20.2%). The primary finding was that patients were generally able to use ESRA-C quickly and without difficulty in a real-world clinical setting and that they were overall quite satisfied with the ESRA-C program. Significant differences were found in several acceptability areas with respect to demographics and quality of life measures such as age, sex, and severe distress. This analysis confirms that the ESRA-C application for collecting symptom and quality of life information is easy for patients to use and acceptable across a range of user characteristics. We intend to build on our work by using the survey platform in other modalities while ensuring that the patient's preferences are considered at all times.
Author Affiliations: University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle (Drs Wolpin, Berry, and Lober and Ms Halpenny); Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle (Dr Berry); University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle (Drs Austin-Seymour and Lober); University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle (Dr Lober); Yale University, Boston (Dr McCorkle); and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (Dr Berry and Ms Halpenny).
This study was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research: R01 NR 008726.
Corresponding author: Seth Wolpin, PhD, MPH, RN, University of Washington Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, 1959 NE Pacific St, Box 357266, Seattle, WA 98195-7266 (firstname.lastname@example.org).