SymptomCare@Home: Developing an Integrated Symptom Monitoring and Management System for Outpatients Receiving Chemotherapy

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Abstract

SymptomCare@Home, an integrated symptom monitoring and management system, was designed as part of randomized clinical trials to help patients with cancer who receive chemotherapy in ambulatory clinics and often experience significant symptoms at home. An iterative design process was informed by chronic disease management theory and features of assessment and clinical decision support systems used in other diseases. Key stakeholders participated in the design process: nurse scientists, clinical experts, bioinformatics experts, and computer programmers. Especially important was input from end users, patients, and nurse practitioners participating in a series of studies testing the system. The system includes both a patient and clinician interface and fully integrates two electronic subsystems: a telephone computer-linked interactive voice response system and a Web-based Decision Support–Symptom Management System. Key features include (1) daily symptom monitoring, (2) self-management coaching, (3) alerting, and (4) nurse practitioner follow-up. The nurse practitioner is distinctively positioned to provide assessment, education, support, and pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions to intensify management of poorly controlled symptoms at home. SymptomCare@Home is a model for providing telehealth. The system facilitates using evidence-based guidelines as part of a comprehensive symptom management approach. The design process and system features can be applied to other diseases and conditions.

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