University of Oulu

Schmalz O, Jacob C, Ammann J, Liss B, Iivanainen S, Kammermann M, Koivunen J, Klein A, Popescu RA. Digital Monitoring and Management of Patients With Advanced or Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treated With Cancer Immunotherapy and Its Impact on Quality of Clinical Care: Interview and Survey Study Among Health Care Professionals and Patients. J Med Internet Res 2020; 22(12): e18655,

Digital monitoring and management of patients with advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer treated with cancer immunotherapy and its impact on quality of clinical care : interview and survey study among health care professionals and patients

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Author: Schmalz, Oliver1; Jacob, Christine2,3; Ammann, Johannes4;
Organizations: 1Department of Haematology, Oncology and Palliative Care, Helios Universitätsklinikum Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany
2The Faculty of Business and Law, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom
3School of Business, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, Brugg, Switzerland
4Medical Affairs (Personalised Healthcare and Patient Access), F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland
5Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
6Arcondis AG, Reinach, Switzerland
7Tumor Zentrum Aarau, Hirslanden Klinik Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: JMIR Publications, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-11


Background: Cancer immunotherapy (CIT), as a monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy, has been shown to extend overall survival in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, patients experience treatment-related symptoms that they are required to recall between hospital visits. Digital patient monitoring and management (DPMM) tools may improve clinical practice by allowing real-time symptom reporting.

Objective: This proof-of-concept pilot study assessed patient and health care professional (HCP) adoption of our DPMM tool, which was designed specifically for patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC treated with CIT, and the tool’s impact on clinical care.

Methods: Four advisory boards were assembled in order to co-develop a drug- and indication-specific CIT (CIT+) module, based on a generic CIT DPMM tool from Kaiku Health, Helsinki, Finland. A total of 45 patients treated with second-line single-agent CIT (ie, atezolizumab or otherwise) for advanced or metastatic NSCLC, as well as HCPs, whose exact number was decided by the clinics, were recruited from 10 clinics in Germany, Finland, and Switzerland between February and May 2019. All clinics were provided with the Kaiku Health generic CIT DPMM tool, including our CIT+ module. Data on user experience, overall satisfaction, and impact of the tool on clinical practice were collected using anonymized surveys—answers ranged from 1 (low agreement) to 5 (high agreement)—and HCP interviews; surveys and interviews consisted of closed-ended Likert scales and open-ended questions, respectively. The first survey was conducted after 2 months of DPMM use, and a second survey and HCP interviews were conducted at study end (ie, after ≥3 months of DPMM use); only a subgroup of HCPs from each clinic responded to the surveys and interviews. Survey data were analyzed quantitatively; interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and translated into English, where applicable, for coding and qualitative thematic analysis.

Results: Among interim survey respondents (N=51: 13 [25%] nurses, 11 [22%] physicians, and 27 [53%] patients), mean rankings of the tool’s seven usability attributes ranged from 3.2 to 4.4 (nurses), 3.7 to 4.5 (physicians), and 3.7 to 4.2 (patients). At the end-of-study survey (N=48: 19 [40%] nurses, 8 [17%] physicians, and 21 [44%] patients), most respondents agreed that the tool facilitated more efficient and focused discussions between patients and HCPs (nurses and patients: mean rating 4.2, SD 0.8; physicians: mean rating 4.4, SD 0.8) and allowed HCPs to tailor discussions with patients (mean rating 4.35, SD 0.65). The standalone tool was well integrated into HCP daily clinical workflow (mean rating 3.80, SD 0.75), enabled workflow optimization between physicians and nurses (mean rating 3.75, SD 0.80), and saved time by decreasing phone consultations (mean rating 3.75, SD 1.00) and patient visits (mean rating 3.45, SD 1.20). Workload was the most common challenge of tool use among respondents (12/19, 63%).

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate high user satisfaction and acceptance of DPMM tools by HCPs and patients, and highlight the improvements to clinical care in patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC treated with CIT monotherapy. However, further integration of the tool into the clinical information technology data flow is required. Future studies or registries using our DPMM tool may provide insights into significant effects on patient quality of life or health-economic benefits.

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Series: Journal of medical internet research
ISSN: 1439-4456
ISSN-E: 1438-8871
ISSN-L: 1439-4456
Volume: 22
Issue: 12
Article number: e18655
DOI: 10.2196/18655
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3122 Cancers
Copyright information: © Oliver Schmalz, Christine Jacob, Johannes Ammann, Blasius Liss, Sanna Iivanainen, Manuel Kammermann, Jussi Koivunen, Alexander Klein, Razvan Andrei Popescu. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (, 21.12.2020. 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 the Journal of Medical Internet Research, 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.