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Digital Health Coaching for Patients With Prostate Cancer: Findings of a Pilot Study

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Digital health coaching for patients with prostate cancer appears to be a feasible way to deliver services, according to the findings a study published in JCO Oncology Practice. Considering the current burden faced by medical oncology providers, Nathan R. Handley, MD, MBA, of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, and colleagues noted that tools expanding the capacity of the care team to deliver services are essential.

“This is one of the first studies to demonstrate feasibility of digital health coaching for a cross-sectional population of men with prostate cancer and supports the development of further studies to explore the efficacy of digital health coaching,” the authors stated.

In this single-arm pilot feasibility study, patients with a history of prostate cancer requiring treatment in the past 2 years were eligible for inclusion in a 12-week health coaching program. The investigational program consisted of a combination of at least one telephone call and up to four digital nudges—defined as content delivered via text, e-mail, or app, based on the participant’s preference—per week. The prostate cancer–specific content addressed one topic each week, including fatigue, pain management, healthy eating, exercise, managing incontinence, sexual health, and medication adherence.

Of 100 patients who consented for the study, 88 enrolled. In all, 63 of the 88 enrolled individuals completed the 3-month program—meeting the feasibility threshold of 60%. Self-efficacy, as measured by the Cancer Behavior Inventory, improved by 3.7 points (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.86–6.55; P = .011), from a baseline of 91.13 to 94.83 at 3 months. In addition, perceptions of financial toxicity improved over the course of the intervention. However, several limitations of the study were identified, including selection bias by recruiting patients via targeted e-mails and a study population skewed toward patients who were White, healthy, and educated.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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