Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer Using a Symptom Heuristics App: Provider Perceptions and Actions

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Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology

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Purpose: This study examined health care providers' perceptions of the usefulness and ease of use of a symptom heuristics app delivered via a tablet computer as a resource for understanding symptom experiences of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. AYAs' app-generated symptom reports were compared with providers' documentation of AYAs' symptoms.

Methods: This multisite study included responses from 86 AYAs 15–29 years of age who completed the Computerized Symptom Capture Tool (C-SCAT) before two scheduled visits for chemotherapy. After each visit, their providers completed a survey addressing their perspective of: (1) the usefulness of data provided by the C-SCAT to understand the AYAs' symptom experience, and (2) the nature of the discussion of symptoms with the AYA. An electronic health record review compared symptoms that AYAs identified by using the C-SCAT with providers' documentation of symptoms.

Results: One hundred forty-four complete surveys were returned after 162 visits. Fifty percent (n = 72) of responses reported that the C-SCAT helped identify the patient's symptoms, and 53% (n = 76) reported that it helped identify the patient's priority symptoms. Providers also reported higher patient engagement and more focused discussions regarding symptoms. They reported that use of the C-SCAT facilitated the development of symptom management plans. Priority symptoms were documented more frequently than nonpriority symptoms (54% vs. 32.7%; p < 0.01) as was a plan for managing priority symptoms (33.7% vs. 17.9%; p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Use of the C-SCAT enhanced providers' understanding of AYAs' symptom experiences. Further research is needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the C-SCAT as a resource to improve symptom management among AYAs with cancer.


Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, Vol. 9, No. 5 (October 2020): 579-585. DOI.