Chemotherapy patients can be monitored remotely with the advent of a smartphone app, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and its affiliated UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
Patients can use their smartphones to monitor their symptoms through sensors and algorithms, which may provide an opportunity to receive time-sensitive medical help, according to a university release.
With the tool, practitioners would be able to act earlier — in between regularly scheduled office visits, for example — and possibly circumvent urgent or emergency visits.
The team studied 14 chemotherapy patients, tracking their locations and phone activity, including texts and calls, the release said. The subjects were asked to gauge and rank the severity of their symptoms daily.
“We found that on days when the patients reported worse-than-average symptoms, they tended to spend more time being sedentary, moved the phone more slowly, and spent more minutes using apps on the phone,” Carissa Low, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of medicine and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, said in the release
The team is now studying the app's potential for applying similar tracking to cancer surgery patients.
“Collecting these objective behavioral measures from smartphone sensors requires no additional effort from patients, and they could prove beneficial for long-term monitoring of those undergoing arduous cancer treatments or those with other chronic illnesses,” Low said.
The findings were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.