Background: Patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) experience painful, debilitating symptoms and functional limitations that can interrupt cancer treatment, and decrease their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The Electronic Patient Visit Assessment (ePVA) for head and neck is a web-based mHealth patient-reported measure that asks questions about 21 categories of symptoms and functional limitations common to HNC. This article presents the development and usefulness of the ePVA as a clinical support tool for real-time interventions for patient-reported symptoms and functional limitations in HNC. Methods: Between January 2018 and August 2019, 75 participants were enrolled in a clinical usefulness study of the ePVA. Upon signing informed consent, participants completed the ePVA and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ) general (C30) questionnaire v3.0 (scores range from 0 to 100 with 100 representing best HRQoL). Clinical usefulness of the ePVA was defined as demonstration of reliability, convergent validity with HRQoL, and acceptability of the ePVA (i.e., >70% of eligible participants complete the ePVA at two or more visits and >70% of ePVA reports are read by providers). Formal focus group discussions with the interdisciplinary team that cared for patients with HNC guided the development of the ePVA as a clinical support tool. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used throughout the study. Descriptive statistics consisting of means and frequencies, Pearson correlation coefficient, and Student’s t-tests were calculated using SAS 9.4 and STATA. Results: The participants were primarily male (71%), White (76%), diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cavity cancers (53%), and undergoing treatment for HNC (69%). Data analyses supported the reliability (alpha =0.85), convergent validity with HRQoL scores, and acceptability of the ePVA. Participants with the highest number of symptoms and functional limitations reported significantly worse HRQoL (sum of symptoms: r=–0.50, P<0.0001; sum of function limitations: r=–0.56, P<0.0001). Ninety-two percent of participants (59 of 64) who had follow-up visits within the 6-month study period completed the ePVA at two or more visits and providers read 89% (169 of 189) of automated ePVA reports. The use of the ePVA as a clinical support tool for real-time interventions for symptoms and functional limitations reported by patients is described in a clinical exemplar. Conclusions: This research indicates that the ePVA may be a useful mHealth tool as a clinical support tool for real-time interventions for patient-reported symptoms and functional limitations in HNC. The study findings support future translational research to enhance the usefulness of the ePVA in real world settings for early interventions that decrease symptom burden and improve the QoL of patients with HNC.
- Clinical usefulness
- Neck cancer (HNC)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health