Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

medical staff pulse newsletter

Text size: A A A
A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF August 10, 2018 | Archived Issues

Meetings and Events


Grand Rounds


Upcoming CME Conferences


Milestones

Do you know of a significant event in the life of a medical staff member? Please let us know, and we'll post these milestones in Medical Staff Pulse. Also, feel free to submit comments on milestones, and we'll post the comments in the next issue.

Submit your milestones and comments.

Share Your News

Won any awards or had an article accepted for publication? Share your news about professional achievements and other items of interest.

Click here to share your news

Fitness Trackers Help Monitor Cancer Patients

Fitness trackers can be valuable tools for assessing the quality of life and daily functioning of cancer patients during treatment, a new study has found. The trackers, also known as wearable activity monitors, include commercial devices worn on the wrist that log a wearer's step counts, stairs climbed, calories, heart rate and sleep.

"One of the challenges in treating patients with advanced cancer is obtaining ongoing, timely, objective data about their physical status during therapy," said Andrew Hendifar, MD, medical director for pancreatic cancer at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. "After all, patients typically spend most of their time at home or work, not in a clinic, and their health statuses change day to day."

Hendifar was the principal investigator and Gillian Gresham, PhD, postdoctoral scientist at the cancer institute, was the first author for the study, which was published online in the journal npj Digital Medicine.

The study focused on 37 patients undergoing treatment for advanced cancer at Cedars-Sinai. They wore wrist-mounted fitness trackers throughout the study, except when showering or swimming. Sets of activity data were collected for three consecutive visits during treatment. After the final clinical visit, patients were followed for six months to gather additional clinical and survival outcomes.

Investigators then compared data from the trackers with patients' assessments of their own symptoms, including pain, fatigue and sleep quality, as collected from a National Institutes of Health questionnaire. These data sets also were compared with two common scales used to gauge physical status and overall health: the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG) and Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) scales.

Results suggested that objective data collected from wearable activity monitors can supplement and enhance current assessments of health status and physical function, which are limited by their subjectivity and potential for bias, Gresham said. In the study, increased daily step and stair activity correlated with more positive ratings of a patient's condition on the provider surveys and lower rates of adverse events and hospitalization.

As a next step, investigators plan to study long-term use of the monitors in a larger, more diverse group of advanced cancer patients and correlate that data with clinical and self-reported outcomes.

Funding: Investigators received support from the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Gresham received doctoral thesis research funding from the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

DOI: 10.1038/s41746-018-0032-6