Patient perspectives on breast cancer treatment plan and summary documents in community oncology care A pilot program
Background: Although the routine use of treatment plans and summaries (TPSs) has been recommended to improve the quality of cancer care, limited data exist about their impact on quality, including patient satisfaction and coordination of care. Methods: Patients received TPSs as part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Breast Cancer Registry (BCR) pilot program of 20 community oncology practices. Participants were surveyed 2 to 4 weeks after receiving a TPS to evaluate their perceptions of the document. Patients who were receiving chemotherapy received the TPS as separate plan and summary documents (at the start and the end of treatment) and could complete 2 surveys. Others received a single integrated TPS. Eligible survey participants had stage 0 through III breast cancer and were enrolled in the BCR. Results: Of 292 consented patients, 174 (60%) completed at least 1 survey. Of 157 patients who recalled receiving a TPS, 148 (94%) believed that the documents improved patient-physician communication, and 128 (82%) believed that they improved communication between physicians; 113 (72%) said the documents increased their peace of mind, whereas 2 (1%) had less peace of mind. Of 152 patients (97%) who still had their documents, 147 (97%) said they were useful, and 94 (62%) had given or planned to give the documents to another physician. All 63 patients who were surveyed after receiving a summary recommended that practices continue to provide TPSs to patients. Conclusions: Participants in this study expressed high satisfaction with TPSs. Additional research is needed to study the broad-scale implementation of the BCR and to evaluate the impact of routine use of TPSs on the quality of care delivered.