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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC: New Study Explores How to Implement Patient-reported Outcomes in Routine Cancer Care

Patients with cancer increasingly are being asked to complete standardized questionnaires that inquire about their symptoms, functioning and well-being as part of routine care. Randomized trials have found that these patient-reported outcomes (PROs) improve communication between patients and clinicians, increase patients’ quality of life and satisfaction with care, and reduce emergency room visits for uncontrolled symptoms.

Clinicians agree that PROs have the potential to promote a more patient-centered, personalized care model. However, adoption of PROs in cancer care has been slow. Dr. Angela Stover, assistant professor in the health policy and management department at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, wanted to understand how to better engage patients and clinicians. She is first author of a recent study that details stakeholder engagement activities that could overcome current barriers to implementing PROs.

The study – “Using Stakeholder Engagement to Overcome Barriers to Implementing Patient-reported Outcomes (PROs) in Cancer Care Delivery: Approaches from 3 Prospective Studies” – was published in the journal Medical Care. It is one of the first studies to track the percentage of questionnaires that result in the need for a nurse to respond by calling a patient, which will help medical practices gauge nursing workload and staffing needs.

“My research program seeks to understand how we can help practices and clinics implement PROs into their workflow and sustain it over time,” explained Dr. Stover. “The next step is to determine how we can best help cancer practices in North Carolina implement PROs for all adult cancer patients, not only those who participate in trials or are treated at academic centers.”

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