Tools for Communication: Novel Infrastructure to Address Patient-Perceived Gaps in Oncology Care

Suzanne McMullen, MHA; Shelagh Szabo, MSc; Ronald J. Halbert, MD, MPH; Catherine Lai, PharmD; Aparna Parikh, MD; Mikele Bunce, MPH, PhD, FACHE; Raya Khoury, MPH; Art Small, MD; and Anthony Masaquel, PhD, MPH


Background: Healthcare providers (HCPs) and patient communication are integral to high-quality oncology care. The patient and HCP perspectives are needed to identify gaps in care and develop communication tools.

Objectives: This study aimed to understand patient- and HCP-perceived elements of and gaps in high-quality care to develop novel communication tools to improve care.

Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted among 16 patients with cancer and 10 HCPs in the United States. Trained interviewers elicited patients' and HCPs' concerns, views, and perceived needs for communication tools. A thematic analysis was used to identify four quality of care domains, depicted in a conceptual model, and two draft communication tools were developed to address identified gaps.

Findings: No patients reported previously using a communication tool, and gaps in communication regarding treatment aims and education were evident. Two tools were developed to assess patients' life and treatment goals and the importance of ongoing education.

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