Wireless Monitoring Program of Patient-Centered Outcomes and Recovery Before and After Major Abdominal Cancer Surgery

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A combined subjective and objective wireless monitoring program of patient-centered outcomes can be carried out in patients before and after major abdominal cancer surgery.


To conduct a proof-of-concept pilot study of a wireless, patient-centered outcomes monitoring program before and after major abdominal cancer surgery.

Design, Setting, and Participants

In this proof-of-concept pilot study, patients wore wristband pedometers and completed online patient-reported outcome surveys (symptoms and quality of life) 3 to 7 days before surgery, during hospitalization, and up to 2 weeks after discharge. Reminders via email were generated for all moderate to severe scores for symptoms and quality of life. Surgery-related data were collected via electronic medical records, and complications were calculated using the Clavien-Dindo classification. The study was carried out in the inpatient and outpatient surgical oncology unit of one National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive cancer center. Eligible patients were scheduled to undergo curative resection for hepatobiliary and gastrointestinal cancers, were English speaking, and were 18 years or older. Twenty participants were enrolled over 4 months. The study dates were April 1, 2015, to July 31, 2016.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Outcomes included adherence to wearing the pedometer, adherence to completing the surveys (MD Anderson Symptom Inventory and EuroQol 5-dimensional descriptive system), and satisfaction with the monitoring program.


This study included a final sample of 20 patients (median age, 55.5 years [range, 22-74 years]; 15 [75%] female) with evaluable data. Pedometer adherence (88% [17 of 20] before surgery vs 83% [16 of 20] after discharge) was higher than survey adherence (65% to 75% [13 of 20 and 15 of 20] completed). The median number of daily steps at day 7 was 1689 (19% of daily steps at baseline), which correlated with the Comprehensive Complication Index, for which the median was 15 of 100 (r = −0.64, P < .05). Postdischarge overall symptom severity (2.3 of 10) and symptom interference with activities (3.5 of 10) were mild. Pain (4.4 of 10), fatigue (4.7 of 10), and appetite loss (4.0 of 10) were moderate after surgery. Quality-of-life scores were lowest at discharge (66.6 of 100) but improved at week 2 (73.9 of 100). While patient-reported outcomes returned to baseline at 2 weeks, the number of daily steps was only one-third of preoperative baseline.

Conclusions and Relevance

Wireless monitoring of combined subjective and objective patient-centered outcomes can be carried out in the surgical oncology setting. Preoperative and postoperative patient-centered outcomes have the potential of identifying high-risk populations who may need additional interventions to support postoperative functional and symptom recovery.

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