Patient Use of Electronic Methods to Self-Report Symptoms: An Integrative Literature Review

Sharyn Carrasco

Lene Symes

electronic self-report, patient self-report, patient-reported symptoms, integrative review
ONF 2018, 45(3), 399-416. DOI: 10.1188/18.ONF.399-416

Problem Identification: Clinicians are unaware of most of their patients’ symptoms. Symptoms may be poorly documented and their impact underestimated. Undertreatment of symptoms may lead to increased symptom distress and decreased quality of life. Improving the communication of symptoms to nurses is vital in symptom management and quality-of-life improvement. Electronic patient self-report of symptoms may be beneficial.

Literature Search: An integrative review of the literature was conducted to describe the use of electronic methods for symptom self-report by patients with cancer and to inform best practices.

Data Evaluation: The final sample for this integrative review consisted of 36 studies (32 quantitative and 4 qualitative).

Synthesis: Data analysis was used to summarize the findings of the 36 studies. Patients with cancer found electronic self-report of symptoms to be feasible and the devices usable. Electronic symptom reporting may improve patient–clinician communication, leading to improved physical and psychosocial outcomes.

Implications for Practice: In the studies that included an interactive communication component, oncology nurses were central in receiving, reviewing, and reporting changes to the provider. Patients expressed themselves more when consulting with nurses than with physicians.

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