The TECHNA Health Informatics Research (HIR) team, led by Tran Truong, has successfully licensed the Distress Assessment Response Tool (DART) to the Rossy Cancer Network, as part of the national Improving Patient Experience and Health Outcomes Collaborative (iPEHOC) project.
DART is now the standard of care in every Princess Margaret clinic, and is being incorporated into the iPEHOC project to facilitate the collection of a standardized set of patient-reported outcome measures, which will help improve clinical practice.DART is a computer-based survey to assess a patient’s over-all well-being, including physical symptoms, practical concerns, and emotional state—not just their cancer. This helps enable holistic care, where the focus is on the patient as a whole person and improving their overall well-being rather than just treating the cancer, a key part of personalized medicine. By covering the aspects of a patient’s life that may not be addressed in a typical exam or clinic visit, such as anxiety and distress, enhances the care that clinical teams can provide and enables the health care team to intelligently integrate psychosocial support and palliative medicine. Having an electronic record of a patient’s symptoms, tracked over a period of time, will also position health care providers to better assess a patient’s therapeutic progress.
“DART is fairly unique in the McGill/Rossy network as a patient-reported outcome tool, which helps us to focus on the most important symptoms and problems of the patient’s situation. It changes the conversation, helping us address and resolve problems more quickly and efficiently. We are hoping to ultimately disseminate DART in all of the cancer clinics across the Rossy Cancer Network, with a long-term goal to influence the Ministry of Health to implement DART or a similar tool across the province to improve patient care.” —Dr. Zeev Rosberger, Director, Louise Granofsky-Psychosocial Oncology Program.
The Rossy Cancer Network is a consortium of three hospitals in Montreal (McGill University Health Centre, Jewish General Hospital, and St. Mary’s Hospital Center) affiliated with McGill University. For this project, DART was fully translated to French, and translation capabilities were built into the DART platform so that extending it to support many other languages will be easier in the future.