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School of Pharmacy

College of Health Sciences

Faculty Receive UW Grant-in-Aid to Study Cancer Patient Self-Monitoring

Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing Assistant Professor Mary Anne Purtzer, Ph.D., RN, and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Administration Carol J. Hermansen-Kobulnicky, Ph.D., R.Ph., were awarded a $7500 UW Faculty Grant-in-Aid titled, "Integrating Cancer Patient Self-Monitoring into Practice: Are We Ready?" Together with Cara A. Harshberger, Pharm.D., BCOP, the research team will conduct the study at the Cancer Center of the Rockies, which is part of University of Colorado Health (formerly Poudre Valley Health System).

Self-management support includes interventions conducted by health care professionals to improve patient confidence and abilities related to managing their health. Self-monitoring is a type of self-management that can be used for cancer patients undergoing treatment who experience treatment side effects and toxicities. Although only one-third of cancer patients practice self-monitoring, studies indicate that this strategy benefits patients and their health care professionals. While the impact of interventions designed to prompt patient self-monitoring behavior has been studied, it is not known how cancer care professionals integrate patient self-monitoring information into self-management programs.

The aim is to investigate oncology clinician perspectives about, experience with and envisioned feasibility of incorporating cancer patient self-monitoring data into self-management support models.

A mixed methods approach will be used, including interviews, focus groups, and a pilot survey. The sample will include oncologists, and oncology nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and nurses. Interviews will gather data from individual practitioners while focus groups will be used to gather data from nurses. Survey data will be gathered from High Plains Oncology Professional organization members. Individual interview and focus group data will be digitally recorded and transcribed. Giorgi’s phenomenologic method will be used to analyze the interview and focus group data resulting in a descriptive model. Survey analysis will entail descriptive statistics of individual items, scale statistics, bivariate analysis and a thematic representation of the narrative questions.

Findings will inform full survey use and the development of a patient-centered, interdisciplinary self-management support model that incorporates patient self-monitoring.

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