Moving beyond basic symptom screening, Patient Reported Outcomes enhance cancer treatment for patients
Symptoms of a cancer diagnosis are not just physical. Patients often have concerns that affect their health but are seldom talked about with their care teams. The impact of their cancer can also be felt emotionally and mentally, in ways less apparent to physicians. The patient’s perspective is key in such situations.
The Partnership’s Person-Centred Perspective (PCP) program and its Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) Initiative aim to improve the patient experience across the cancer journey, with the goal of all jurisdictions establishing a measurement and reporting cycle for the patient experience by 2017. The PRO Initiative funds three projects: Improving Patient Experience and Health Outcomes Collaborative (Ontario and Quebec), Measuring Patient Reported Outcomes to Address Patient Experience in Three Atlantic Provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador), and Prairie Provinces Patient Experience and Outcomes (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba).
PROs allow a health care team to understand each part of the patient’s cancer journey in detail, including physical, emotional and practical concerns. By doing so, they can develop care plans tailored to each patient. PROs provide a complete view of the impact of cancer from the patient’s perspective to help clinicians deliver person-centred care and prioritize needs most valued to the patient. PROs enrich cancer treatment by providing a detailed understanding of symptoms and emotional state, standardizing the symptom assessment process and contributing to program or service development. By completing questionnaires that track patient symptoms over time, patients can talk to their team about a treatment plan that is best to reduce and manage their symptoms.
In efforts to accelerate Patient Reported Outcome implementation across the country, short videos have been created to increase awareness and uptake of screening for distress. With one geared towards patients and the other towards clinicians, these two-minute animated videos, presented in English and French, will promote the use of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System-Revised (ESAS-R) by highlighting the benefits for both patients and clinicians. There are currently eight provinces across Canada engaging in efforts to promote the use of the ESAS-R tool. As such, the videos will play in hospital/clinic waiting rooms, new patient and in classrooms for new staff orientations and more.
To find out more about the benefits of PROs for patients and clinicians, view the videos on our YouTube channel.