Evaluation of a tablet PC technology to screen and educate oncology patients
The aim of the study was to evaluate The Patient Assessment, Care and Education (PACE) System-an electronic patient symptom screening and reporting system for oncology. Specifically, the study determined provider and patient opinions of The PACE System and documented evidence as to whether symptom assessment rates increased after this system was implemented.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Ninety-two providers (i.e., physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) at 16 community oncology clinics were surveyed about their experiences with The PACE System. In addition, 100 patients at two community oncology clinics were surveyed about their perceptions of The PACE System. Finally, at two oncology clinics, 100 patient charts were abstracted in the year before implementation of The PACE System, and 100 patient charts were abstracted in the year after its implementation to evaluate changes in symptom assessment rates.
Providers seemed to value the system. In particular, they reported that the screening and reporting system helped them to identify, track, and document the patients' most important symptoms. The patient survey indicated that the majority of patients at the two sites found the system easy to use and generally helpful and would recommend it to others. The chart review indicated that assessment rates for depression, fatigue, and pain increased after The PACE System was implemented.
The PACE System appears to be a promising approach to addressing the widespread problem of under-identification and under-treatment of symptoms in patients receiving cancer treatment.