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Haun JN, Alman AC, Melillo C, Standifer M, McMahon-Grenz J, Shin M, Lapcevic WA, Patel N, Elwy AR. Using Electronic Data Collection Platforms to Assess Complementary and Integrative Health Patient-Reported Outcomes: Feasibility Project. JMIR medical informatics. 2020 Jun 26; 8(6):e15609.
BACKGROUND: The Veteran Administration (VA) Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation is invested in improving veteran health through a whole-person approach while taking advantage of the electronic resources suite available through the VA. Currently, there is no standardized process to collect and integrate electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) of complementary and integrative health (CIH) into clinical care using a web-based survey platform. This quality improvement project enrolled veterans attending CIH appointments within a VA facility and used web-based technologies to collect ePROs. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to (1) determine a practical process for collecting ePROs using patient email services and a web-based survey platform and (2) conduct analyses of survey data using repeated measures to estimate the effects of CIH on patient outcomes. METHODS: In total, 100 veterans from one VA facility, comprising 11 cohorts, agreed to participate. The VA patient email services (Secure Messaging) were used to manually send links to a 16-item web-based survey stored on a secure web-based survey storage platform (Qualtrics). Each survey included questions about patient outcomes from CIH programs. Each cohort was sent survey links via Secure Messaging (SM) at 6 time points: weeks 1 through 4, week 8, and week 12. Process evaluation interviews were conducted with five primary care providers to assess barriers and facilitators to using the patient-reported outcome survey in usual care. RESULTS: This quality improvement project demonstrated the usability of SM and Qualtrics for ePRO collection. However, SM for ePROs was labor intensive for providers. Descriptive statistics on health competence (2-item Perceived Health Competence Scale), physical and mental health (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global-10), and stress (4-item Perceived Stress Scale) indicated that scores did not significantly change over time. Survey response rates varied (18/100, 18.0%-42/100, 42.0%) across each of the 12 weekly survey periods. In total, 74 of 100 participants provided = 1 survey, and 90% (66/74) were female. The majority, 62% (33/53) of participants, who reported the use of any CIH modality, reported the use of two or more unique modalities. Primary care providers highlighted specific challenges with SM and offered solutions regarding staff involvement in survey implementation. CONCLUSIONS: This quality improvement project informs our understanding of the processes currently available for using SM and web-based data platforms to collect ePROs. The study results indicate that although it is possible to use SM and web-based survey platforms for ePROs, automating scheduled administration will be necessary to reduce provider burden. The lack of significant change in ePROs may be due to standard measures taking a biomedical approach to wellness. Future work should focus on identifying ideal ePRO processes that would include standardized, whole-person measures of wellness.