Measuring Cancer Patients’ State of Mind: New CTSI Project will Fund Development of Electronic Intervention Software

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) of Southeast Wisconsin has awarded a $25,000 “Innovations in Healthcare Delivery Pilot Model Grant” to develop a new electronic platform that will measure cancer patients’ distress as they go through chemotherapy. This patient-driven technology is expected to improve the quality of clinical care.

Lauren Wiebe, MD, assistant professor of medicine (hematology and oncology) at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is the primary investigator of the grant. 

In this project, Dr. Wiebe will use an electronic intervention to identify and triage distress in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Using a customized iPad platform linked to a research database, patients will complete a brief survey instrument about emotional well-being at each visit.  That feedback will immediately be sent to the patient’s care team. The software allows the team to track individual patient scores from visit to visit, which allows for early intervention if necessary.

“The ability to screen and monitor patients’ distress is increasingly important for clinical care and national quality measures in comprehensive cancer care,” said Dr. Wiebe. “We will also be looking at provider familiarity with distress screening recommendations and management before and after the software implementation.”

The overarching goal of the project is to use patient-driven technology to improve the quality of clinical care.

The “Innovations in Healthcare Delivery” grants are supported by the Medical College Physicians, MCW’s physician practice group caring for adult patients, and the CTSI. The fundamental goal is to stimulate innovative pilot projects that promise to measurably and meaningfully improve delivery of healthcare in terms of clinical quality, patient experience, value and efficiency.

CTSI is part of a national consortium of top medical research institutions. Working together, the CTSI institutions are committed to improve human health by streamlining science, transforming training environments and improving the conduct, quality and dissemination of clinical and translational research. The CTSI program is led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

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