A Look at Technology and its Uses to Measure Function and Mobility In The Homes of Older Patients with Cancer

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Study Title: Benefits and Barriers of Technology for Home Function and Mobility Assessment: Perspectives of Older Patients with Blood Cancers, Caregivers, and Clinicians

Publication: Journal of Clinical Oncology Clinical Cancer Informatics, April 25, 2023, View the study article

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Author(s): Dillon Clancy, BA; Anna C. Revette, PhD; Kristi Ho, BA; Christina M. Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH; Tammy Hshieh, MD, MPH; Gregory Abel, MD, MPH, Clark DuMontier, MD, MPH. Representing the Older Adult Hematologic Malignancy Program at DFCI

Study Summary:
The study conducted focus groups of older patients with blood cancers, their caregivers, and hematologic oncology clinicians to characterize potential benefits and barriers associated with using technology to measure function in the home. Participants were presented with two major classes of technologies: intermittent wearable sensors and passive monitoring devices. Investigators found that all participants valued function and mobility assessments, and felt that technology could overcome barriers to their measurement. Qualitative analysis of the data generated from the focus groups identified three themes related to potential benefits of this technology: making it easier for oncology teams to consider function and mobility in their decision-making; providing standardized, objective data; and facilitating longitudinal data. Three potential barriers also emerged: older adults had concerns related to privacy and confidentiality, especially with the continuous passive monitoring device. Moreover, patients and caregivers sought to know the exact measures (e.g., gait speed) being collected and wanted assurance that these measures would be useful to their oncology team. In turn, before using the technology in their decision-making, clinicians wanted both forms of technologies to be validated and proven effective in improving outcomes in their older patients.

Addressing the barriers identified in this study through clinician-patient communication, best practices in data security, and further investigation into whether the use of technology improves outcomes will enhance its implementation in research and practice. Responding to the needs of key stakeholders will optimize the uptake of these technologies to fully realize their potential in expanding function and mobility measurements of older patients in the home.

This work was supported by the Edward P. Evans Center for MDS at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (G.A.A. and C.D.), the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Multiple Myeloma through National Cancer Institute, NIH, grant P50 CA100707 (C.D.), the Boston Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center through National Institute on Aging, NIH, grant P30 AG031679 (C.D.), and the Older Adult Hematologic Malignancy Program through the Murphy Family Fund from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (G.A.A.).

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Blood Cancer
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