AMA reports on improved remote monitoring/caring for cancer patients – not online, but my phone. Clearly that doesn’t require broadband but I think speaks to the role of technology for connection in healthcare today.
A six-month telerehabilitation program yielded improvements in advance-stage cancer patients’ pain and function. The gains in these areas reduced hospital lengths of stay and the need for post-acute care, demonstrating the effectiveness of easily scalable, high-impact technology interventions.
The JAMA Oncology study included 516 patients with stage IIIC or IV cancer, moderate functional impairment and a life expectancy of more than six months who were randomly assigned into one of three groups.
Group one was a control group. Patients in this group reported, either by telephone or web-based surveys, pain intensity, and whether pain interfered with enjoyment of life or general activity.
Patients in group two did the same, but also received telephone calls from fitness care managers who provided individualized instruction in a pedometer-based walking program and resistance exercises. In addition, these patients also visited physician therapists for further adaptions of their conditioning and analgesic regimens.
Group three participants had the same program as group two with the addition of pharmacological pain management led by a nurse pain care manager.
While hospital admissions were basically the same among the three groups, the lengths of stay varied greatly, with group two having hospitalizations that were about four days shorter (3.5) than the control group (7.4) on average. The group three patients did not see as much benefit, with an average stay length of five days.