Accommodate multiple platforms

To make ePROs more accessible to providers, ePRO reporting tools should be designed to accommodate the multiple computing platforms providers use for patient care. In addition to computing platforms, printed reports are needed in exceptional circumstances in which computing platforms are not available or where print is most optimal to support patient-provider communications.

Strategy A
Design ePRO reports for multiple computing platforms, including desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and print to accommodate various clinical contexts and user preferences

Accessing patient data from different devices and computing platforms is common. Providers increasingly use smartphones and tablets in addition to traditional means (desktop computers and print) to improve the convenience and efficiency of clinical workflows. A busy provider may use tablet-based views to review patient data, while bedside charting often entails a desktop format. In addition, providers may use multiple devices (e.g., desktop or laptop computers) as they move from one patient location to another. Further, it is not uncommon that a provider references a paper-based report as part of the communication process with a patient to allow the patient to take the report with them after an exam. Therefore, ePRO reporting tools should accommodate multiple output platforms.

Table 4E illustrates considerations for common platforms that provide ePRO reports for provider use that might impact ePRO report layout, features, and security measures.

Table 4E: Common platforms used in patient care
Platform Considerations

Print can provide a convenient means to share PROs with a patient during or at the conclusion of a patient visit. Print may also serve as a backup means of receiving PRO surveys from patients who do not have access to or do not prefer electronic PRO reports.

A recognized challenge is the difficulty in transferring some visual cues (e.g., color, interactivity) from ePRO reporting to print while maintaining comparable effectiveness; meaning is sometimes lost. Another challenge is that print is not easily transferred into the EHR.

Desktop or laptop computer While other platforms may offer providers easy access to PROs outside the clinic, desktop and laptop computers may be the best means of providing access to providers while they are working in the clinic or at the patient bedside.

Providing ePROs on a smartphone may be useful to providers who want to do a quick evaluation of the patient situation when other platforms are not convenient.

However, the small screen of most smartphones presents a challenge, as some aspects of a visualization can be difficult to distinguish.

Tablet computer

Our sources referenced the promise of this platform, but they did not report current widespread direct provider use for ePRO reporting. Projected increased use of tablets could combine aspects of desktop and smartphone utility.

However, at present, tablets do seem to indirectly benefit providers in a clinical context by offering a means for patients to complete ePRO surveys in clinic while waiting to be seen. In addition, as ePRO reports become more directly available to patients, they may bring their own tablet devices into the clinical setting to share reports with providers.