Discrepancy between treatment goals documentation by oncologists and their understanding among cancer patients under active treatment with chemotherapy

Article: Discrepancy between treatment goals documentation by oncologists and their understanding among cancer patients under active treatment with chemotherapy

Authors: Varun Monga, Seth M. Maliske, Hassan Kaleem, Sarah L. Mott, Gideon K. D. Zamba, Mohammed Milhem

Journal: Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2018 Dec 3:e12973. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12973. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract:
OBJECTIVE/BACKGROUND: Discussion of treatment goals between oncologists and patients is challenging. Patients frequently misunderstand goals of therapy. There are several methods to document goals of chemotherapy, however, and are frequently not incorporated into patient charts.

METHODS/DESIGN: Cancer patients receiving their first cycle of chemotherapy were interviewed. Patients’ recall of discussions with their oncologist regarding therapy intent was assessed and compared to documentation. An adjusted McNemar’s test was utilised. A one-sample proportion test was used to evaluate whether the overall observed rate of discordance was significantly different from the proposed 33% rate; a rate posited as a threshold too high in the clinical sense.

RESULTS: Two hundred and seven eligible patients were interviewed. Oncologist identified treatment goals were not documented in 24.6% of cases and had to be excluded. There was not a significant difference in the directionality of discordance present. Inter-rater agreement between patient and oncologist was found to be adequate (κ = 0.64). The overall rate of discordance (17.29%) was found to be significantly less than the proposed acceptable level of 33% (p < 0.01). Upon univariable analysis, age, gender, marital and employment status were not found to be associated with discordance.

CONCLUSIONS: Discordance between treatment goals documentation and their understanding exists, indicating continued miscommunication between the patient and oncologist.

Link to journal online: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ecc.12973

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