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Monitoring quality of life among prostate cancer survivors: the feasibility of automated telephone assessment.

Skolarus TA, Holmes-Rovner M, Hawley ST, Dunn RL, Barr KL, Willard NR, Wei JT, Piette JD, An LC. Monitoring quality of life among prostate cancer survivors: the feasibility of automated telephone assessment. Urology. 2012 Nov 1; 80(5):1021-6.

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the feasibility of using automated interactive voice response calls to assess prostate cancer survivor quality of life (QOL). In light of an increasing focus on patient-centered outcomes, innovative and efficient approaches to monitor QOL among prostate cancer survivors are increasingly valuable. METHODS: Forty prostate cancer survivors less than 1 year post-treatment were enrolled at a university-based cancer center clinic from July through August 2011. We adapted the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC) survey, a prostate cancer-specific QOL instrument, for use via personal telephone with interactive voice response. We compared written vs interactive voice response EPIC scores across urinary, sexual, bowel, and vitality domains. RESULTS: The median age of respondents was 63 years (range, 41-76 years) and the majority had undergone surgery (97.5%). The entire interactive voice response call was completed by 35 participants (87.5%). Over half of all interactive voice response calls were answered after 2 attempts with a median length of 11.3 minutes. On average, interactive voice response EPIC scores were slightly lower than written scores (-2.1 bowel, P = .05; -4.6 urinary incontinence, P < .01). Test-retest reliability was very high for urinary incontinence (r = .97) and sexual function domains (r = .96). Although mean scores were similar for other domains, their distributions had significant ceiling effects limiting our reliability measure interpretation. CONCLUSION: Automated interactive voice response calls are a feasible strategy for assessing prostate cancer survivor QOL. Interactive voice response could provide a low cost, sustainable, and systematic approach to measuring patient-centered outcomes, conducting comparative effectiveness research, and monitoring the quality of prostate cancer care.

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