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E/Tablet technology may provide benefits to patients, researchers

DURHAM, N.C. -- The old wooden clipboard and pen that patients typically encounter when providing information in a doctor's office may soon be replaced by wireless, handheld notebook-and-pen-style computers called E/Tablets.

Patients in some community cancer clinics have been using E/Tablets for several years, but a new study by Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers shows that E/Tablets may also be useful in busy, academic medical settings for both for collecting patient history data and conducting clinical research.

"When you go to the doctor's office you're asked to fill out a medical history form each and every time, and some of that information -- like gender and what your grandma died of -- never changes," said Amy Abernethy, M.D., an oncologist and lead investigator on the study. "E/Tablets allow patient information to be stored permanently and confidentially. We also found that patients are satisfied with the tablets, that they furnish comparable data to those collected on paper, and that they may even be more effective in collecting data on sensitive subjects, like sexual satisfaction."

The results of the study will be presented at a poster presentation on Saturday, June 2, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago. The study was funded by Pfizer Inc.

In the study, breast cancer patients used E/Tablets to enter information about themselves and to answer survey questions about the user-friendliness of the E/Tablets. Nearly all of the patients reported that the tablets were easy to read, easy to navigate and were a comfortable weight, and that responding to questions using the tablets was easy. Nearly three-quarters of the patients reported that using the tablets made it easier for them to remember their symptoms.

"The symptom assessment tool provided on the E//Tablet is tailored specifically to cancer patients," Abernethy said. "The focused prompts are designed
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Contact: Lauren Shaftel
lauren.shaftel@duke.edu
919-452-2037
Duke University Medical Center
2-Jun-2007


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