News — JMIR Publications recently published “Digital life coaching during stem cell transplantation: development and usability study” in JMIR Formative Research which reported that the authors initiated a single-arm pilot study to investigate the feasibility of engaging patients with digital life coaching (DLC) during this intensive time.
Enrolled patients received 16 weeks of virtual access to a life coach starting day -5 before the stem cell transplant (SCT), including while hospitalized for high-dose chemotherapy and the transplant itself. Coaches used structured frameworks to help patients identify and overcome personal barriers to well-being. Patients chose preferred coaching topics and communication styles.
The authors found that the patients were able to interact with their coach by phone and text two-way during this intensive period, with an average conversation frequency of every 6.2 days during the 3-month study period. . Based on the positive results of this pilot study, a larger, randomized Phase 2 study of DLC during TSS – with support from an ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award – is underway to investigate the efficacy of the DLC regarding patient well-being during TSS.
The team concluded in their JMIR Publications Search Results, “Selected patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous SCT can meaningfully engage with life coaches using their phones, even during 2-week hospitalizations. A randomized phase 2 study to assess the effectiveness of DLC in this population is ongoing. If future studies demonstrate the effectiveness of DLC in improving quality of life and symptom burden during TSS, this type of intervention could eventually become a tool routine to support patient well-being during intensive cancer-focused therapies.
The lead author of the study, Dr Banerjee from the University of California, San Francisco, added, “One of the benefits of digital supportive care tools like the DLC is their convenience for patients and their scalability between facilities. Many studies of supportive care during transplantation focus on tools that require additional visits and the in-person expertise of acupuncturists, music therapists, or others. On the other hand, patients can easily reach their coach using the DLC from their phone, whether in the hospital or at home. »
However, he warned that the DLC must be extended in a way that avoids deepening a “digital divide” among patients. While their pilot study required enrolled patients to have a personal smartphone and speak English, they are actively exploring strategies to expand the DLC to other patient populations.
Full Text – https://formative.jmir.org/2022/3/e33701/
Free Altmetric Report – https://jmir.altmetric.com/details/121129633
Key words – digital health, life coaching, multiple myeloma, stem cell transplant, stem cell therapy, cancer, high dose chemotherapy, patient engagement, feasibility, digital life coaching, mobile phone
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