LeBlanc And Abernethy Patient-Care Paper Recognized

June 4, 2018
By: Julie Poucher Harbin, Writer, DCI

Thomas LeBlanc, MDA journal article by hematologic oncologist, palliative care physician, and associate professor of medicine Thomas LeBlanc, MD, and adjunct professor of medicine Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, has been recognized as a paper that could "Change the World, One Article At A Time" by Springer Nature journals.

The editors-in-chief of Springer Nature journals nominated 250 articles across disciplines for the honor; selecting last month the scientific findings published in 2017 that they believe “could have an impact on society's most pressing problems.”

Leblanc and Abernethy’s honored article, "Patient-reported outcomes in cancer care — hearing the patient voice at greater volume," was published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology in October 2017, and will be available in free text form for free for several more weeks. 

Amy Abernethy, MD, PhDThe authors argue, in the paper, that incorporation of electronic patient-reported outcome (PRO) assessments into standard health-care settings “can potentially improve the quality of the care administered to patients with cancer” and that “routine collection and inclusion of electronic PRO data in patient care improves clinical outcomes.” 

Historically PROs — which measure things like health-related quality of life, including how a person is functioning physically, their emotional state, their social well-being, and what symptoms they are going through — have been used solely in research studies. 

Other key points made in the paper included that electronic PRO data “usually provides more reliable information on the patient’s experience than that reported by clinicians,” and that the data are “an important element of learning health-care systems and big-data initiatives.”

“The FDA has recognized that this aspect of measuring the patient experience was missing from the drug development process,” said LeBlanc said in an interview about the paper by The American Journal of Managed Care last December. “They have increasingly been saying that PROs need to be part of what we measure when we test new drugs or compare drugs, and it’s an important part of what should be in the repertoire of clinical trial end points.”

“For me, what’s most exciting about electronic PROs,” he added, “is that they can be a part of good cancer care, or medical care, and not simply a clinical trial tool.”