Purpose/Objectives: To investigate oncology professionals’ perspectives about, experience with, and envisioned feasibility of incorporating patient self-monitoring as a patient-centered practice.
Research Approach: An interpretive, descriptive study.
Setting: Four health systems and five cancer centers in three states.
Participants: 38 nurses, nurse practitioners, oncologists, physician assistants, and radiation therapists.
Methodologic Approach: Individual and focus group interviews.
Findings: Three themes were revealed: (a) the concept of self-monitoring is unarticulated and underused by healthcare providers, (b) taking a proactive approach with patients can help generate specific and accurate data for clinical decision making, and (c) self-monitoring by patients may result in challenges imposed by negativity.
Conclusions: This study uncovers the potential contribution of patient self-monitoring as a means of providing patient-generated data that informs clinical decision making, going beyond self-monitoring for self-management only. Because the term self-monitoring is not used by clinicians, adoption of an agreed-upon term is recommended as the first step toward developing and implementing a self-monitoring strategy. Findings support the need to reenvision patient education to ensure self-monitoring is clinically useful while preventing an excessive focus on the negative, which may contribute to patient anxiety.
Interpretation: The full potential for self-monitoring by patients is not entirely reached. Because nurses are charged with providing patient education, they are strategically positioned to adopt the term self-monitoring and integrate a self-monitoring strategy into patient-centered practice.