Improving cancer related symptom management with collaborative healthware.


Goldsmith D, McDermott D, Safran C. Improving cancer related symptom management with collaborative healthware. Stud Health Technol Inform 2004;107(Pt 1):217-21.

Date Published:



We conducted a feasibility study of an innovative Internet-based system, designed to support collaboration between patients and providers around cancer related symptom management. Our objective was to demonstrate the system's potential to enhance communication and clinical decision making between patients and their providers. Considering the high prevalence of cancer related symptoms and their impact on patients' quality of life, enhanced collaboration regarding assessment and treatment could significantly reduce illness burden. Twenty-seven patients with known malignancy and twenty-nine oncology clinicians were interviewed to identify functional requirements for the system. Patients reported the ability, willingness and desire to use a computer to help them manage their cancer related symptoms. Physicians recognized the potential of this system to improve communication and collaboration around symptom management, but voiced concern regarding a potential increased workload. Nurse providers had greater interest in reviewing symptoms online than did their physician counterparts. Patients in this study believe that using an Internet based system to report their cancer related symptoms would improve the quality of the care they receive. Our findings suggest that both patients and clinicians are concerned about the management of cancer related symptoms and would use Internet-based tools if they were shown to improve care.