News | March 24, 2008

Patient-Reported Outcomes Improve Cancer Treatment

March 25, 2008 - An information technology application is improving cancer treatment with the use of Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs), according to Supportive Oncology Services Inc. (SOS), a research-based health information company in Memphis, TN.

PROs are self-assessments that measure any aspect relating to health status that come directly from the patient without any interpretation by the healthcare team. With its Patient Assessment, Care and Education System (PACE), SOS helped pioneer the efficient use of PROs in the community oncology setting where more than 85 percent of all cancer patients are treated. This information technology, which has been used by over 100 cancer practices throughout the U.S. since 2001, enables patients to complete a comprehensive physical and psycho-social assessment before each physician visit.

According to SOS chief medical officer, Kurt W. Tauer, M.D., “Effective cancer care requires treating more than the tumor; it necessitates taking care of the whole patient, addressing dozens of physical symptoms as well as psychological and social needs that accompany a cancer diagnosis. From dealing with the prospects of a potential death sentence to handling home healthcare needs, cancer patients and their families can quickly become overwhelmed with all that faces them. PROs delivered via the PACE System help physicians alleviate areas of patient discomfort or distress, thus improving quality of life.”

Cancer Care for the Whole Patient, recently published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), discusses the PACE System and its role in-patient care, particularly as it pertains to quality of life issues.

Additionally, Duke University’s Comprehensive Cancer Care Center has adopted the PACE System in research projects across its Oncology Supportive Care department. Duke researchers presented findings at the 2007 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, demonstrating how the PACE System “offers a valid, feasible method for collecting research- quality, clinically relevant data from patients in outpatient academic oncology.” In February 2007, the FDA released draft guidance for using PROs to support new claims for drug labeling.

For more information: www.sosacorn.com

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