This week, I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 ASCO Meeting in Chicago. The theme of the meeting was “Delivering Discoveries: Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine”. Among all the amazing and hopeful science presented here, there was one thing that represents, to me, a wonderful opportunity to improve the patient journey, communication between patient and physician, and the overall patient experience. PROs – Patient Reported Outcomes. The FDA defines a PRO as any report of the status of a patient’s health condition that comes directly from the patient, without interpretation of the patient’s response by a clinician or anyone else.
While the advent of more technology to monitor patients and their conditions and symptoms remotely is a much-heralded advancement in the treatment process, there are still some things that must be directly reported from the patient themselves. Medical technology allows clinicians to measure physical, physiological or biochemical data of the patient, but it will never be able to provide all the insights and nuances to treat. There is data that can only be obtained from the patient, and this is where mobile technology comes into the picture.
I was eager to hear about a daily survey that doctors were using to inquire as to the patients’ overall condition, noting any unexpected symptoms, and importantly, promoting persistency with their drug therapy. In this particular abstract, based on treatment for small cell lung cancer, better therapy is maintained, problems are addressed prior to requiring another hospitalization, and most encouragingly, overall death rates are reduced.
Using mobile technology to open up communication and “observation” brings the focus to the patient experience, and mobile phones and tablets are the key instruments to help gather these PRO assessments. While mobile technology has improved our daily lives on many levels, it has profoundly raised the quality of life for many. Healthcare is an area that has embraced mobile technology, and it continues to use this technology to make profound improvements for many. I look forward to learning more about this, as we continue to expand the reach of medicine, improving the lives of patients everywhere.