Lifespan Cancer Institute among 6 groups studying digital symptom reporting benefit

PROVIDENCE – The Lifespan Cancer Institute is among six cancer programs nationally participating in the $9 million SIMPRO study investigating whether electronic reporting of symptoms decreases hospitalizations after surgery or chemotherapy.

The SIMPRO, or Symptom Management Implementation of Patient Reported Outcomes in Oncology study, is funded by the National Cancer Institute in association with the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

Lifespan Cancer Institute’s participation in this study will be led by Dr. Don Dizon, director of medical oncology at Rhode Island Hospital.

Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston, Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis, Tenn., Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., West Virginia University Cancer Institute in Morgantown, W.Va., and Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, are also participating in the study.

- Advertisement -

The project will create a reporting and management system within Epic, the electronic health record system used by the study members and many health systems around the country. Patients’ smart devices will enable a secure connection to their cancer care team via the electronic health record system – called LifeChart at Lifespan facilities – and facilitate symptom tracking following procedures and treatments.

The data will be integrated into the electronic health record system at each participating center, allowing for direct communication and real-time updates for clinicians. Those clinicians will have access to a dashboard of patients’ symptoms to prioritize outreach efforts and coaching, according to the Moonshot Initiative.

“From an informatics standpoint, this investment in the infrastructure of patient engagement, provider-patient communication and mobile health is likely to have a very large, positive impact on patients, providers, researchers and the health care community at large,” said Dr. Michael Hassett, SIMPRO project technical lead and medical oncologist at Dana-Farber.

The study will test whether monitoring the symptoms patients experience and providing coaching on how to manage them can decrease the need for hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

“Patient-reported outcomes have been shown to help providers and patients connect outside of the usual clinical visit. Compared to usual clinical visits, one study showed that allowing patients living with metastatic cancer to use a platform to report symptoms electronically not only led to lower rates of emergency room visits and other health care costs but also helped patients survive longer,” said Dizon, who is also director of women’s cancers for Lifespan Cancer Institute.

“Postoperative symptom management is an underutilized strategy for improving surgical care. This work will help us understand how surgeons should implement electronic patient-reported outcomes, especially for patients who travel great distances for their operations,” said Dr. Sandra Wong, chief of surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and a co-principal investigator on the project.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at 

Purchase NowWant to share this story? Click Here to purchase a link that allows anyone to read it on any device whether or not they are a subscriber.