Symptom Reporting for Cancer Patients — Introducing Sympto !
The past decade has taught us a lot. Even minor differences in disease presentation, genetics, and behaviors compound to a unique cancer journey for every patient.
One patient with lung cancer treated with the drug Erlotinib may get a rash, while another may not. One may respond positively, the other negatively.
Cancer is anything but homogeneous. Therefore, we must actively treat each patient uniquely. Each patient experiences different challenges, and we must respond to their specific symptoms and side effects appropriately. Patients’ symptoms are the single most important determinant of their quality of life. Unfortunately, symptom management is often overlooked in cancer care. Up to 50% of symptoms are unrecognized by care teams. These important oversights cause suffering for patients and caregivers, increase the time they must spend in hospitals, and worsen outcomes. In the worst case, they lead to preventable deaths.
Research involving patients diagnosed with all types of cancer have found that assessment of symptoms can improve symptom management, quality of life, and even survival. Symptom assessment also has been shown to improve top-line metrics such as time spent on chemotherapy and less frequent admissions to the ER. This is likely due to increased, regular communication of high-quality symptom data between patients and their providers.
Unfortunately, most cancer patients currently lack access to systems that effectively and securely share their routine symptom data with their doctors and nurses. This issue disproportionately impacts patients who are vulnerable to existing disparities in healthcare quality, such as minority and low-income patients, among others.
Technology can democratize access to healthcare services and can improve our care. These services can be incredibly complicated, but Sympto keeps things simple.
Sympto is a free and easy-to-use app to help patients diagnosed with cancer track and share their symptoms. Sympto follows PRO-CTCAE, a medically backed grading scheme, and takes less than 60 seconds to meaningfully record a symptom.
Through the Sympto app, patients also receive a weekly questionnaire developed by leading cancer researchers that asks the questions oncologists care most about. This questionnaire takes less than 4 minutes to answer and is personalized to a patient’s cancer type.
Before a clinic visit, patients can generate a Health Summary to hand to their doctors. Sympto’s Health Summary visually transmits all the data recorded in the application through a short and easily understood one pager. This one pager can be printed out, but most patients just show it to their doctor on their mobile phone.
Everyone’s experience through cancer is unique.
Sympto is built to augment and support individualized and personalized care. Cancer patients use Sympto to track their own personal experience and share that information with their doctor on a regular basis.
Helping oncologists make more informative, proactive, and above all personalized decisions.