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Initial Evaluation of an Electronic Symptom Diary for Adolescents with Cancer

Baggott, C, Gibson, F, Coll, B, Kletter, R, Zeltzer, P and Miaskowski, C (2012) Initial Evaluation of an Electronic Symptom Diary for Adolescents with Cancer Journal of Medical Internet Research, 1 (2), e23.

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Background: The delivery of optimal care depends on accurate communication between patients and clinicians regarding untoward symptoms. Documentation of patients’ symptoms necessitates reliance on memory, which is often imprecise. We developed an electronic diary (eDiary) for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer to record symptoms. Objective: The purpose of this paper is to describe the utility of an eDiary designed for AYAs with cancer, including dependability of the mobile application, the reasons for any missing recorded data, patients’ adherence rates to daily symptom queries, and patients’ perceptions of the usefulness and acceptability of symptom data collection via mobile phones. Methods: Our team developed an electronic symptom diary based on interviews conducted with AYAs with cancer and their clinicians. This diary included daily severity ratings of pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and sleep. The occurrence of other selected physical sequelae was assessed daily. Additionally, patients selected descriptors of their mood. A 3-week trial of the eDiary was conducted with 10 AYA cancer patients. Mobile phones with service plans were loaned to patients who were instructed to report their symptoms daily. Patients completed a brief questionnaire and were interviewed to elicit their perceptions of the eDiary and any technical difficulties encountered. Results: Overall adherence to daily symptom reports exceeded 90%. Young people experienced few technical difficulties and reported benefit from daily symptom reports. Symptom occurrence rates were high and considerable inter- and intra-patient variability was noted in symptom and mood reports. Conclusions: We demonstrated the utility of an eDiary that may contribute insight into patients’symptom patterns to promote effective symptom management.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Health Sciences
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Baggott, C
Gibson, F
Coll, B
Kletter, R
Zeltzer, P
Miaskowski, C
Date : 11 December 2012
DOI : 10.2196/resprot.2175
Copyright Disclaimer : ©Christina Baggott, Faith Gibson, Beatriz Coll, Richard Kletter, Paul Zeltzer, Christine Miaskowski. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (, 11.12.2012. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included
Uncontrolled Keywords : mHealth, eHealth, patient-reported outcomes, symptom assessment, adolescent, cancer
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 07 Jun 2016 09:27
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 18:21

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