Cancer Group Says Better Doctor/Patient Communication Means Better Outcomes for Cancer Care in Scottsdale
The Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network says that patient satisfaction with provider communication leads to better health at lower costs.
A new study from the American Cancer Society has found that “cancer patients who reported greater satisfaction in the way their provider communicated with them, wound up receiving more efficient care with fewer office visits and better health outcomes.” The findings were published in the latest issue of JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
“Our study suggests that when cancer care providers are more effective communicators, their patients are more likely to follow medical advice and medication protocols,” said lead author Ashish Rai, PhD, Surveillance and Health Services Research, American Cancer Society. “Cancer survivors are distinct from many other patients, in terms of their provider communication-related needs and expectations. They are more likely to be older and have additional health concerns. Being diagnosed with cancer and hearing complex information about treatment, costs, and prognosis can cause anxiety. On top of that, there is the fear of possible recurrence. All these factors and more can make cancer survivors particularly sensitive in their perception of good care or communication.”
“The results of this study present an interesting challenge: those survivors most in need of good communication about complex medical issues may not be receiving the information they seek in a manner that they find helpful. That in turn results in higher health care utilization and expenditure,” commented Crystal Denlinger, MD, FACP, Chief, GI Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Chair of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) Panel on Survivorship. “This could be due to many factors, including time constraints, competing priorities, and increasingly complex cancer therapies. This study highlights the need for additional research into how to tailor the health care experience both during and after cancer treatment, in order to communicate more effectively.”
Needs vary from patient to patient, and a doctor’s time constraints pose challenges to good communication. "The amount of time spent is only one of the attributes of effective communication. By tailoring their communication strategy to a patient's specific needs, providers may be able to communicate more effectively in the same amount of time."
The study asserts it is important to delegate both clinical and communication duties to colleagues as needed, and to look for time-saving measures. Good communication can improve outcomes by streamlining care, alleviating anxiety, boosting mutual trust, and increasing treatment adherence.
To read the entire study, visit JNCCN.org. Complimentary access to "Determinants and Outcomes of Satisfaction With Healthcare Provider Communications Among Cancer Survivors" is available until October 10, 2018.
BrightStar Care of Greater Scottsdale helps care for patients with cancer and other serious conditions at home. Learn more about our home health care and cancer care services by clicking here.