Nicholas Solarino

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (6)15.12 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Cancer patients and their oncologists often report differing perceptions of consultation discussions and discordant expectations regarding treatment outcomes. CONNECT, a computer-based communication aid, was developed to improve communication between patients and oncologists. METHODS: CONNECT includes assessment of patient values, goals, and communication preferences; patient communication skills training; and a preconsultation physician summary report. CONNECT was tested in a 3-arm, prospective, randomized clinical trial. Prior to the initial medical oncology consultation, adult patients with advanced cancer were randomized to the following arms: 1) control; 2) CONNECT with physician summary; or 3) CONNECT without physician summary. Outcomes were assessed with postconsultation surveys. RESULTS: Of 743 patients randomized, 629 completed postconsultation surveys. Patients in the intervention arms (versus control) felt that the CONNECT program made treatment decisions easier to reach (P = .003) and helped them to be more satisfied with these decisions (P < .001). In addition, patients in the intervention arms reported higher levels of satisfaction with physician communication format (P = .026) and discussion regarding support services (P = .029) and quality of life concerns (P = .042). The physician summary did not impact outcomes. Patients with higher levels of education and poorer physical functioning experienced greater benefit from CONNECT. CONCLUSIONS: This prospective randomized clinical trial demonstrates that computer-based communication skills training can positively affect patient satisfaction with communication and decision-making. Measurable patient characteristics may be used to identify subgroups most likely to benefit from an intervention such as CONNECT. Cancer 2013. © 2013 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 01/2013; · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Cancer clinical trials (CCTs) are important tools in the development of improved cancer therapies; yet, participation is low. Key psychosocial barriers exist that appear to impact a patient's decision to participate. Little is known about the relationship among knowledge, self-efficacy, preparation, decisional conflict, and patient decisions to take part in CCTs. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine if preparation for consideration of a CCT as a treatment option mediates the relationship between knowledge, self-efficacy, and decisional conflict. We also explored whether lower levels of decisional conflict are associated with greater likelihood of CCT enrollment. METHOD: In a pre-post test intervention study, cancer patients (N = 105) were recruited before their initial consultation with a medical oncologist. A brief educational intervention was provided for all patients. Patient self-report survey responses assessed knowledge, self-efficacy, preparation for clinical trial participation, decisional conflict, and clinical trial participation. RESULTS: Preparation was found to mediate the relationship between self-efficacy and decisional conflict (p = 0.003 for a test of the indirect mediational pathway for the decisional conflict total score). Preparation had a more limited role in mediating the effect of knowledge on decisional conflict. Further, preliminary evidence indicated that reduced decisional conflict was associated with increased clinical trial enrollment (p = 0.049). CONCLUSIONS: When patients feel greater CCT self-efficacy and have more knowledge, they feel more prepared to make a CCT decision. Reduced decisional conflict, in turn, is associated with the decision to enroll in a clinical trial. Our results suggest that preparation for decision-making should be a target of future interventions to improve participation in CCTs. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 02/2012; · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the feasibility of home videoconferencing for providing cancer genetic education and risk information to people at risk. Adults with possible hereditary colon or breast and ovarian cancer syndromes were offered Internet-based counselling. Participants were sent web cameras and software to install on their home PCs. They watched a prerecorded educational video and then took part in a live counselling session with a genetic counsellor. A total of 31 participants took part in Internet counselling sessions. Satisfaction with counselling was high in all domains studied, including technical (mean 4.3 on a 1-5 scale), education (mean 4.7), communication (mean 4.8), psychosocial (mean 4.1) and overall (mean 4.2). Qualitative data identified technical aspects that could be improved. All participants reported that they would recommend Internet-based counselling to others. Internet-based genetic counselling is feasible and associated with a high level of satisfaction among participants.
    Journal of telemedicine and telecare 01/2011; 17(1):36-40. · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although there is broad consensus that careful content vetting and user testing is important in the development of technology-based educational interventions, often these steps are overlooked. This paper highlights the development of a theory-guided, web-based communication aid (CONNECT), designed to facilitate treatment decision-making among patients with advanced cancer. The communication aid included an on-line survey, patient skills training module and an automated physician report. Development steps included: (1) evidence-based content development; (2) usability testing; (3) pilot testing; and (4) patient utilization and satisfaction. Usability testing identified some confusing directions and navigation for the on-line survey and validated the relevance of the "patient testimonials" in the skills module. Preliminary satisfaction from the implementation of the communication aid showed that 66% found the survey length reasonable and 70% found it helpful in talking with the physician. Seventy percent reported the skills module helpful and about half found it affected the consultation. Designing patient education interventions for translation into practice requires the integration of health communication best practice including user feedback along the developmental process. This developmental process can be translated to a broad array of community-based patient and provider educational interventions.
    Patient Education and Counseling 07/2008; 71(3):378-87. · 2.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Participants in early-phase clinical trials have reported high expectations of benefit from their participation. There is concern that participants misunderstand the trials to which they have consented, which is based on assumptions about what patients mean when responding to questions about likelihood of benefit. Participants were 27 women and 18 men in early-phase oncology trials at 2 academic medical centers in the United States. To determine whether expectations of benefit differ depending on how patients are queried, the authors randomly assigned participants to 1 of 3 interviews corresponding to 3 questions about likelihood of benefit: frequency type, belief type, and vague. In semistructured interviews, participants were queried about how they understood and answered the question. Participants then answered and discussed 1 of the other questions. Expectations of benefit in response to the belief-type question were significantly greater than expectations in response to the frequency-type and vague questions (P=0:02). The most common justifications involved positive attitude (n=27 [60%]) and references to physical health (n=23 [51%]). References to positive attitude were most common among participants with higher (> 70%) expectations (n = 11 [85%]) and least common among those with lower ( < 50%) expectations (n = 3 [27%]). The wording of questions about likelihood of benefit shapes the expectations that patients express. Patients who express high expectations may not do so to communicate understanding but rather to register optimism. Ongoing research will clarify the meaning of high expectations and examine methods for assessing understanding.
    Medical Decision Making 04/2008; 28(4):575-81. · 2.89 Impact Factor