This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Many patients with cancer have surgery as part of their treatment. Patients can often go home shortly after surgery. But at home, patients and their caregivers must manage recovery themselves, which can be stressful. Patients may worry about normal signs of recovery. They may go to the emergency room, or ER, when they don’t need to. Or patients may not seek help for problems that are serious, like signs of infection.
In this study, the research team is comparing two ways to give patients and caregivers information that can help them manage recovery from surgery.
Who can this research help?
Hospitals can use results of this study when considering ways to provide support to cancer patients after surgery.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is working with a cancer center to recruit 1,700 patients with cancer who are having surgery and 850 caregivers. Patients must have access to the internet by cell phone, tablet, or computer. Every day, patients in the study enter details about their symptoms into an online system. The team is assigning patients, by chance, to receive follow-up in one of two ways:
- Team monitoring. When patients in this group report symptoms that are not normal or that are getting worse, the system alerts their care team. A nurse calls the patient to follow up.
- Enhanced feedback. When patients in this group report symptoms, they see how their symptoms compare to those of other patients who have had similar cancer surgeries. The system instructs patients to call the care team if they feel their symptoms are worse than they should expect.
The research team is tracking how often patients in each group go to the ER in the first 30 days after surgery. They are also following up with patients to see if they feel anxious about their recovery or whether they feel they can make decisions about their care needs. The team is also looking at how much stress caregivers report in each group.
Patients, caregivers, clinicians, and members of cancer support groups are working with the research team to plan and conduct the study.
Research methods at a glance
Other Health Services Interventions
Training and Education Interventions
Larissa Temple, PhD, MA is a co-investigator on this project.