The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and patient-reported experience measures (PREMs) in an Australian outpatient oncology setting

Kate Webber, Olivia Cook, Michelle White, Alastair Kwok, Eva Segelov

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background: PROMs and PREMs may be useful tools to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer patients’ wellbeing and care. This analysis compares baseline self-reported quality of life (QoL), symptoms and supportive care needs between two independent patient groups based on when and how they attended their oncology appointment: 1) in person, prior to the global declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic and; 2) via telehealth, during the pandemic. Methods: Patients were invited to complete a suite of PROMs and PREMs including the EQ-5D-5L, modified Edmonton Symptom Assessment System-Revised (ESAS-R) and the modified Supportive Care Needs Survey Short-Form (SCNS-SF34) on an iPad in the waiting room before each appointment (pre-COVID-19 pandemic phase, December 2019 to March 2020) or online prior to a telehealth appointment (COVID-19 pandemic phase, October 2020 to April 2021). Descriptive statistics were reported for clinical and demographic factors and the PROMs and PREMs. Baseline scores from pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 cohorts were compared using t-tests and chi-square tests. Results: In the pre-COVID-19 phase, 100 patients (99 females, 60.7 years old) participated compared with 129 patients (128 females, 59.7 years old) in the COVID-19 phase. Primary cancer diagnoses were breast (pre-COVID-19 68%, COVID-19 71%), gynaecological (pre-COVID-19 31%, COVID-19 37%) and lung (pre-COVID-19 1%) cancers. Mean age, gender, relationship status, language spoken, cancer diagnoses, and staging were similar, all p > 0.05. Median self-rated health (EQ-VAS score) was also similar between the pre-COVID-19 phase (74, IQR 33) and the COVID-19 phase (75, IQR 34), p = 0.51. Median ESAS-R swelling/lymphoedema score was higher for the COVID-19 phase (1, IQR 3) than the pre-COVID-19 phase (0, IQR 3), p = 0.03. Median SCNS standardised psychological domain score was lower for the COVID-19 phase (35, IQR 40) compared with the pre-COVID-19 phase (45, IQR 42), p = 0.03. No other significant differences in symptoms or unmet needs were noted (all p > 0.05). The top three symptoms concerns (ESAS-R score ≥7) were: 1) tiredness (pre-COVID-19 33%, COVID-19 22.7%); 2) sleep problems (pre-COVID-19 24.5%, COVID-19 21.9%); 3) drowsiness (pre-COVID-19 21.2%) and concentration and memory (COVID-19 19.5%). Conclusions: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, these data reflect the symptoms and concerns impacting on the QoL among Australian oncology patients have remained largely stable. Although Australian COVID-19 case numbers have remained low, PROMs and PREMs are crucial tools for continuing to support oncology patients with QoL and supportive needs in the pandemic era.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number28 suppl
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
EventASCO Quality Care Symposium 2021 - Marriott Copley Place, Boston, United States of America
Duration: 24 Sept 202125 Sept 2021

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