||Starmer HM, Klein D, Montgomery A, Goldsmith T, McCarroll L, Richmon J, Holsinger FC, Beadle B, Jain P
Dysphagia is a common consequence of head and neck radiation and may be mitigated by performance of swallowing exercises during radiation treatment. Given historically poor adherence to such exercise protocols, we created a mobile health application, HNC Virtual Coach as an adjunct to standard clinical care. This randomized control trial investigated the impact of HNC Virtual Coach on adherence as well as swallowing outcomes by comparing those using the mobile app to those receiving only standard clinical care and paper logs. Both treatment groups were provided with the same exercise protocol as well as the same baseline educational information. Outcome measures included adherence rates, physiologic measures obtained during a Modified Barium Swallow Study (PAS, MBS-ImP, DIGEST), patient-reported outcomes (MDADI), diet levels (FOIS, PSS-HN), and quality of information received (INFO-25). Patients using the HNC Virtual Coach tended to have better adherence to treatment recommendations during radiation therapy. Increased adherence was associated with better patient-reported quality of life, but not physiologic function 2-3 months following completion of radiation. Results suggest that a mobile health application may provide benefit for some patients undergoing head and neck radiation.