Telecare Management Lowers Pain, Depression in Cancer

Involves phone-based management by nurse-physician team, automated symptom monitoring
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- A centralized telephone-based care management approach combined with automated symptom monitoring can improve pain and depression in patients with cancer, according to a study published in the July 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In a randomized controlled trial conducted in 16 community-based urban and rural oncology practices, Kurt Kroenke, M.D., of the Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, and colleagues assigned 202 participants to an intervention that involved centralized telephone-based care management by a nurse-physician team combined with automated symptom monitoring, and 203 participants to usual care.

The researchers found that, compared to the 137 patients with pain in the usual-care group, the 137 patients with pain in the intervention group showed greater improvements in Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) pain severity over the 12-month study period, whether measured as a continuous severity score or as a categorical pain responder (≥30 percent decrease in BPI). In addition, compared to the 155 patients with depression in the usual-care group, the 154 patients with depression in the intervention group had greater improvements in 20-item Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL-20) depression severity, whether measured as a continuous severity score or as a categorical depression responder (≥50 percent decrease in HSCL).

"Centralized telecare management coupled with automated symptom monitoring resulted in improved pain and depression outcomes in cancer patients receiving care in geographically dispersed urban and rural oncology practices," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and Forest Laboratories.

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