Collection of electronic patient-reported symptoms in patients with advanced cancer using Epic MyChart surveys

  • Dylan M. ZyllaEmail author
  • Grace E. Gilmore
  • Grant L. Steele
  • Justin P. Eklund
  • Christina M. Wood
  • Angela M. Stover
  • Alice C. Shapiro
Original Article



Use of electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) in routine cancer care can help identify troublesome symptoms and facilitate discussions between patients and clinicians and has been shown to improve patient satisfaction, quality of life, and survival.


Eighty patients with stage IV non-hematologic malignancies on chemotherapy participated. Patient-Reported Symptom Monitoring (PRSM) surveys were sent every 14 days via the Epic MyChart system over a 12-week period. Surveys were offered via phone or paper if patients failed to complete the automated MyChart survey by day 16. Severe symptoms or concerning symptom trends were automatically highlighted in reports for clinic staff. Patients reporting severe symptoms were routed to oncology nursing triage for standard symptom care management.


Two hundred seventy-one surveys were sent during the 12-week study period. One hundred eighty-three surveys (66%) were completed, with 68% completed electronically via MyChart, 25% by paper, and 7% by phone call from a research coordinator. At least one severe symptom was reported on 36% of all surveys. However, most severe symptoms did not result in urgent triage follow-up because they were already being addressed and/or patients felt they were manageable. Patients and clinicians generally said the ePRO was efficient and helpful for addressing distressing symptoms and would use it in routine oncology care.


ePROs can be integrated into the electronic health record using the Epic MyChart system. Patients and clinicians gave positive feedback on the system. Monitoring symptoms in real time may soon become part of standard oncology practice and requires seamless methods for collection.


Electronic patient-reported outcomes Cancer Symptoms 



The authors would like to thank Jan Morgan for the help with study coordination, Mary VanBeusekom for the review of the manuscript, and Min Xi for the help with initial data analysis.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by a Program Development Grant from Health Partners Institute

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Health Partners Institute. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Park Nicollet Oncology Research, Frauenshuh Cancer Center, HealthPartners InstituteFrauenshuh Cancer CenterMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Policy and ManagementUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer CenterChapel HillUSA

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