Clinicians Need to Coordinate More Effectively in Cancer Survivorship Care
Published Online: Thursday, August 18, 2011
Katherine S. Virgo, PhD
PCPs worry about minimizing exposure to malpractice risks, overlooking care, and lacking the training to provide adequate care for cancer survivors. Medical oncologists are more concerned about duplication of care and knowing which physician is addressing patients’ ongoing preventive-care needs, according to a presentation at the ASCO meeting in June.
“Education and survivorship care plans may be needed to alleviate barriers due to inadequate training, malpractice-driven test and treatment ordering, and confusion regarding responsibility for providing general preventive care,” said Katherine S. Virgo, PhD, managing director of health services research at the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Atlanta, Georgia.
The findings came from the Survey of Physician Attitudes Regarding the Care of Cancer Survivors (SPARCCS), a project sponsored jointly by the ACS and the National Cancer Institute. Using American Medical Association membership lists, investigators mailed questionnaires to 5275 physicians, all of whom were PCPs or medical oncologists. The survey garnered responses from 2202 physicians involved in the survivorship care of patients with breast and colorectal cancer: 1072 PCPs and 1130 medical oncologists.
Respondents were asked how often they encountered specific problems related to the care of breast or colon cancer survivors who completed treatment 5 or more years in the past:
- Ordering tests or treatment as protection against malpractice
- Uncertainty about who has responsibility for patients’ preventive care
- Possible duplication of care
- Missed care
- Lack of adequate knowledge or training
“Education and survivorship care plans may be needed to alleviate barriers due to inadequate training, malpractice-driven test and treatment ordering, and confusion regarding responsibility for providing general preventive care. ”
–Katherine S. Virgo, PhD
Virgo KS, Lerro CC, Klabunde CN, et al. Barriers in providing breast and colorectal cancer survivorship care: perceptions of US primary care physicians and medical oncologists. J Clin Oncol. 2011;29(suppl; abstr CRA9006).
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