Sep 07, 2018
Where It Is Now, Where It Is Leading
In June, JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics (JCO CCI) published its second special collection of articles. This collection, “The Intersection of Digital Health and Technology,” highlights new areas of digital health, providing a broad overview of the current state of technology in cancer care, as well as where the field may be headed in the future.
JCO CCI associate editor Adam P. Dicker, MD, PhD, and collection guest editor Heather S.L. Jim, PhD, discuss in their overview that adaptability will be needed, both for the practice of medicine and for oncology practices and health care institutions to manage “changes in work, structure, and patient expectations. To be successful, organizations must rethink traditional departments, expunge silos, and acknowledge that a workforce with a different set of skills and capabilities will be required.”
To achieve these ends, collaboration will be crucial. Dr. Dicker believes that “successful outcomes that rely on technology platforms are even more dependent on teamwork and shared decision-making between physicians, caregivers, and patients.” Digital health technologies can foster this collaboration by streamlining communication through interactive decision aids, mobile apps, and web-based resources.
The invited reviews in the collection showcase aspects of collaboration being brought about by digital tools:
- Digital Health for Geriatric Oncology: State-of-the-art digital health solutions for geriatric oncology and potential application of emerging remote health monitoring technologies relevant to cancer care.
- Digital Health Interventions for Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors: Highlights selected studies to describe the evidence and state of the research regarding digital health interventions targeting adolescent and young adult cancer survivors.
- Promise of Mobile Health Technology to Reduce Disparities in Patients With Cancer and Survivors: Draws on the literature in cancer and non-cancer populations to identify factors that create or maintain disparities and describe opportunities for mHealth technology to reduce them.
- Use of Wearable, Mobile, and Sensor Health Technology in Cancer Clinical Trials: Overview of current potential measurement options, including types of data collected, methods/tools for collecting them, and opportunities and potential drawbacks of mobile health in cancer clinical trials.
- The HOPE Pilot Study: Harnessing Patient-Reported Outcomes and Biometric Data to Enhance Cancer Care: Assesses the feasibility, acceptability, and perceived effectiveness of a mobile health intervention designed to collect patient-reported outcomes and activity data as a measure of health status.
- Technology Applications: Use of Digital Health Technology to Enable Drug Development: Discusses a project in which an end-user mobile medical application and provider web portal were developed and evaluated to remotely monitor and provide daily guidance in managing symptoms and adverse events during a clinical trial of two oncology drugs.
- Framework to Advance Oncology-Related Telehealth: Overview of the current landscape of mobile health technology, including potential measurement of available options, opportunities and possible drawbacks, and next steps for establishing mobile health methods and tools as legitimate and accepted measures in oncology clinical trials.
- Clinical Integration of Digital Solutions in Health Care: An Overview of the Current Landscape of Digital Technologies in Cancer Care: Examines the current integration of digital health technology in cancer care by dividing digital health technologies into different groups: connected devices, digital patient-information collection, telehealth, and digital assistants.
- Text Messaging in Oncology: A Review of the Landscape: Examines the current landscape of SMS-based interventions across the continuum of cancer care and some of the barriers to implementation of a successful text messaging intervention.
In the collection’s introduction, Dr. Dicker wrote, “These technologies are changing how healthcare providers and patients collaborate both inside and outside the clinic setting,” emphasizing the growing importance of digital health technologies and the critical need for a journal that reports on them. This change is occurring at this moment, and healthcare providers can benefit by reading about the research, best practices, and insights from those in the oncology community.