Development and evaluation of a computerized clinical outcome assessment tool for head and neck cancer patients

Head and Neck Cancer
27/08/2020

Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Aug 21;99(34):e20304. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000020304.

ABSTRACT

Paper-based clinical outcome data collection methods have practical limitations when used in clinical settings, as the data are often not summarized in time to facilitate patient-physician communications and therefore cannot be used in clinical decision making. This study aimed to develop a computerized clinical outcome assessment tool (COAT) and evaluate its acceptability, feasibility, and potential clinical applications during clinical encounters for patients with head and neck cancer


(HNC).The traditional Chinese (TChi) character version of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Head and Neck (FACT-H&N) questionnaire was first transcribed and implemented into a touch-screen computerized administration and reporting system (COAT-HNC for short). Each HNC patient was invited to complete the COAT-HNC during their scheduled clinic visits as part of their clinical care. Upon completion, a structured summary report was generated, and subsequently used for treatment evaluation and planning.A cohort of 385 HNC patients were enrolled. Each scale of the computerized TChi FACT-H&N questionnaire demonstrated acceptable internal consistency, with Cronbach coefficient alpha ranging from 0.74 to 0.90. The touch-screen-based and audio-capable COAT-HNC was reported to be easy to use. Patients and physicians were able to utilize the summary report during their clinical encounters to discuss treatment progress and to plan care.It is practically feasible to design, develop, and implement the COAT-HNC system in routine HNC care. The COAT-HNC has the potential to become a valuable tool for data collection and management of clinical outcomes, and appears useful for HNC patients. However, larger studies to demonstrate its clinical usefulness are still needed.