SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • oncologist;
  • survivorship;
  • communication;
  • quality of health care;
  • primary health care

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS
  6. DISCUSSION
  7. FUNDING SUPPORT
  8. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
  9. REFERENCES

BACKGROUND

The Institute of Medicine recommended that survivors of cancer and their primary care providers receive survivorship care plans (SCPs) to summarize cancer treatment and plan ongoing care. However, the use of SCPs remains limited.

METHODS

Oncology providers at 14 National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program hospitals completed a survey regarding their perceptions of SCPs, including barriers to implementation, strategies for implementation, the role of oncology providers, and the importance of topics in SCPs (diagnosis, treatment, recommended ongoing care, and the aspects of ongoing care that the oncology practice will provide).

RESULTS

Among 245 providers (response rate of 70%), 52% reported ever providing any component of an SCP to patients. The most widely reported barriers were lack of personnel and time to create SCPs (69% and 64% of respondents, respectively). The most widely endorsed strategy among those using SCPs was the use of a template with prespecified fields; 94% of those who used templates found them helpful. For each topic of an SCP, although 87% to 89% of oncology providers believed it was very important for primary care providers to receive the information, only 58% to 65% of respondents believed it was very important for patients to receive the information. Furthermore, 33% to 38% of respondents reported mixed feelings regarding whether it was the responsibility of oncology providers to provide SCPs.

CONCLUSIONS

Practices need additional resources to overcome barriers to implementing SCPs. We found resistance toward SCPs, particularly the perceived value for the survivor and the idea that oncology providers are responsible for SCP dissemination. Cancer 2014;120:722–30. © 2013 American Cancer Society.


INTRODUCTION

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS
  6. DISCUSSION
  7. FUNDING SUPPORT
  8. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
  9. REFERENCES

There are 13.7 million people with a history of cancer currently living in the United States, 64% of whom have survived at least 5 years.[1] Offsetting the benefit of long-term survival, many cancer survivors face significant health issues, such as ongoing risks of second cancers, disease recurrence, and late effects (consequences of the cancer and its treatment).[1-6]

In 2005, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recognized that cancer survivors may experience an inadequate transition from oncology-focused care to primary care.[2] The roles of oncology and primary care providers remain ill-defined after treatment is complete.[7, 8] Often survivors continue to receive follow-up care from their oncology providers, resulting in the neglect of their general health.[9] To facilitate the improved coordination of posttreatment care between oncology and primary care providers, the IOM proposed the use of survivorship care plans (SCPs).[2] SCPs are personalized documents presented to cancer patients at the end of treatment that summarize key aspects of cancer treatment and recommend appropriate ongoing medical care and self-management.[2] The purpose of the SCP is both to educate survivors and to create a portable document that can be shared with primary care providers to facilitate coordinated care. Survivors and primary care providers have responded positively to the concept of SCPs,[10-25] survivorship experts have widely endorsed SCPs, and multiple professional societies and accrediting agencies have encouraged their use.[1, 8, 26-32] Beginning in 2015, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer will evaluate the use of SCPs as a metric of quality of care.[33]

Persistent barriers to SCP use have been identified by oncology providers, who are faced with selecting or creating a template, compiling information (often from multiple sources) regarding survivors, and discussing and distributing the SCPs. Oncology providers generally have positive feelings about SCPs, but report some hesitation in integrating them into clinical practice.[10, 15, 34, 35] Indeed, the implementation of SCPs nationwide has been slow, with a recent report demonstrating that fewer than one-half of National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers use SCPs for their survivors of breast or colorectal cancer.[10] Among community and academic cancer programs in the southeastern United States, fewer than 25% of providers in each program use SCPs for their survivors.[36]

A potential problem for the implementation of SCPs is the lack of evidence of a benefit with their use. To the best of our knowledge, the only randomized trial to date that investigated outcomes after SCP use found that among patients with early-stage breast cancer, receiving an SCP was not associated with a change in cancer-related distress, quality of life, and other health outcomes.[37] These findings may discourage oncologists from embracing the use of SCPs. We hypothesize that there are 2 major barriers to the widespread uptake of SCPs: the lack of resources to integrate SCPs into busy clinical practices and buy-in from oncology providers. The aim of the current study was to assess community oncology providers' opinions about SCPs, including perceptions of the importance of SCPs, the responsibility of oncology providers to provide SCPs, barriers to SCP use, and the usefulness of the implementation strategies used at their practices. Community oncology providers are critical to understanding SCP plan use, because the majority of patients with cancer receive care in community settings.[38] It is important to note that we included nonphysician oncology providers who often are responsible for SCP use.[39-42] The oncology providers in our survey came from hospitals within the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP), an NCI-funded program of cancer centers at community hospitals in the United States. The NCCCP was developed to achieve quality and research objectives in cancer care, including the identification of evidence-based survivorship care services. Having committed to the development of SCPs as part of the NCCCP program deliverables, these oncology providers are in a unique position to provide insight into the use of SCPs.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS
  6. DISCUSSION
  7. FUNDING SUPPORT
  8. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
  9. REFERENCES

Study Population

The principal investigators at each NCCCP site and were contacted and invited to collaborate on the current study. We recruited oncology providers from the 14 NCCCP sites who agreed to collaborate. Eligible participants were medical and radiation oncologists, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants who provided chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or hormone therapy to adult patients with cancer. Fellows and residents were excluded. We excluded surgeons because generally only a minority of their patients are cancer patients, and therefore the topic may be less relevant to them.

Instrument

Our questionnaire assessed oncology providers' opinions about SCPs, specifically with regard to practice characteristics, use of SCPs, perceived value of SCPs, and barriers and facilitators to the implementation of SCPs. It is interesting to note that some NCCCP sites have multiple oncology clinics. Individual survey respondents commented on SCP use within their clinics, not within the entire NCCCP site. We described the SCP in terms of 4 topics outlined by the IOM: 1) cancer diagnosis; 2) cancer treatment; 3) recommended ongoing care; and 4) what aspects of care the oncology practice will provide. We asked whether the respondent or other clinicians in their practice provide written summaries of these 4 topics for their patients at the time of completion of cancer treatment. We investigated buy-in by eliciting beliefs about SCPs and their commitment to providing SCPs, specifically whether it was considered important for patients and primary care providers to receive SCPs and whether providing SCPs to patients is the responsibility of oncology providers. We selected barriers and facilitators from the literature on SCP implementation.[15, 19, 25, 35, 43-45] We listed 8 barriers and asked whether each is (or would be) a problem for their practice. Similarly, we listed 7 strategies and asked whether they were used and, if so, which were helpful. Using an open-ended response, we asked respondents who provide SCPs how long it typically takes to complete a report. Finally, we elicited comments about barriers, strategies, and SCPs in general. We pilot-tested the questionnaire at one NCCCP site and edited the survey for the main study.

Recruitment and Data Collection

At each NCCCP site, a site lead invited eligible providers to participate. The site lead gave a gift card to each respondent. Site leads returned completed anonymous questionnaires to researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for analysis. Surveys were distributed between September 2011 and June 2012, with each site enrolling participants for 1 to 2 months until all eligible providers had either participated or chosen not to participate. This study was deemed exempt from Institutional Review Board at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and at all the participating sites.

Statistical Analysis

We reported participant characteristics, SCP use, opinions regarding SCP provision, perceived barriers, and the perceived value of implementation strategies using descriptive statistics. Differences between physicians and nonphysicians (advanced practice nurses and physician assistants) were assessed with Student t tests and chi-square statistics. Missing responses were removed from the analysis on a question-by-question basis.

RESULTS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS
  6. DISCUSSION
  7. FUNDING SUPPORT
  8. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
  9. REFERENCES

Across the 14 sites, 245 oncology providers (70% of the eligible providers [range 28%-100% across sites]) completed the survey, with an average of 17.5 participants per site (standard deviation, 5.8) (Table 1). There was no significant difference in profession between participants and nonparticipants (P > .05). Each survey item had fewer than 10% of responses missing, with the exception of 2 items: the amount of time to complete an SCP (an open-ended question) and whether limiting the content of the SCP was a useful strategy (11% and 13% of responses missing, respectively).

Table 1. Participant Characteristics (n=245)
CharacteristicN%
  1. Abbreviation: SD, standard deviation.

  2. a

    The total number was 230 due to missing responses.

Profession of participants  
Medical oncologist11748%
Radiation oncologist3715%
Nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist6627%
Physician assistant2510%
Participants at each site  
Billings Clinic Cancer Center (Billings, MT)156%
Geisinger Medical Center Cancer Institute (Danville, PA)219%
Gundersen Lutheran Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (La Crosse, WI)187%
Hartford Hospital, Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center (Hartford, CT)208%
Lehigh Valley Hospital, John and Dorothy Morgan Cancer Center (Allentown, PA)2912%
Mercy Cancer Center (Des Moines, IA)146%
Norton Cancer Institute (Louisville, KY)125%
Penrose Cancer Center (Colorado Springs, CO)198%
Providence Portland Medical Center (Portland, OR)198%
Seton Family of Hospitals (Austin, TX)42%
Spartanburg Regional Hospital, Gibbs Regional Cancer Center (Spartanburg, SC)146%
St. Elizabeth Cancer Center (Lincoln, NE)219%
St. Luke's Regional Medical Center (Boise, ID)229%
St. Mary's Health Care, The Lacks Cancer Center (Grand Rapids, MI)177%
 MeanSD
No. of patients seen per weeka3625

Use of SCPs

Fewer than one-half of the respondents reported that they ever provide their patients with summaries of diagnosis, summaries of treatment, recommendations for ongoing care, or information concerning what aspects of care the oncology practice will provide (38%, 39%, 48%, and 49%, respectively) (Table 2). However, 52% of providers (N = 128) reported ever providing any component of an SCP to their patients, and this did not vary by the profession of the respondent. Approximately 75% of respondents (N = 183) reported that they or someone at their practice ever provides any component of an SCP to the respondent's patients. In each clinic in which SCPs were provided by the respondent or another person, SCPs were provided by oncologists, nonphysician clinicians, and social workers, working alone or in combination.

Table 2. Frequency of Provision of SCP Components (n=245)
 AlwaysSometimesNeverDon't Know
Component of Survivorship Care PlanN%N%N%N%
Provided by survey respondent        
Summary of diagnosis208%7430%14158%104%
Summary of treatment208%7731%13656%125%
Recommended ongoing care4518%7430%11748%94%
What aspects of care your practice will follow4619%7330%11647%104%
Provided by other person in practice        
Summary of diagnosis198%10141%7731%4820%
Summary of treatment198%10342%7330%5020%
Recommended ongoing care2711%10744%6527%4619%
What aspects of care your practice will follow3213%9940%6426%5020%

Among the 128 participants who reported that they ever give any component of SCPs to their patients, 66% (N = 85) estimated in open-ended format how long it takes on average to complete. Just less than one-half (48%; N = 41) reported that it takes ≤ 15 minutes, 22% (N = 19) reported it takes between 16 minutes and 30 minutes, and 12% (N = 10) reported it takes between 31 minutes and an hour. Approximately 16% of participants (N = 14) reported that it takes over a day. We dichotomized the time for SCP completion near the median (≤ 15 minutes vs > 15 minutes) and found that more nonphysicians reported taking > 15 minutes compared with physicians (72% and 32%, respectively; P < .05).

Importance of SCPs

Approximately 58% to 65% of respondents believed it was very important for patients to receive information regarding the topics in an SCP (ie, diagnosis, treatment, recommended care, and aspects of care followed by the oncology practice) (Table 3). Across topics, 87% to 89% of respondents believed receiving an SCP was very important to primary care providers. Physicians were less likely than nonphysicians to believe information was very important for patients across all topics (47%-56% for physicians compared with 82%-90% for nonphysicians; all P < .05). Similarly, physicians were less likely than nonphysicians to believe information was very important for primary care providers across all topics (82%-85% for physicians compared with 93%-95% for nonphysicians; all P < .05), except the importance of providing information about diagnosis (88% for physicians and 92% for nonphysicians; P value not significant) (data not shown).

Table 3. Opinions Regarding the Value of and Responsibility for Providing SCPs (n=245)
Importance of receiving a written Very ImportantSomewhat ImportantNot at All ImportantDon't Know
report with information summarizing:N%N%N%N%
  1. Abbreviation: SCPs, survivorship care plans.

Diagnosis        
For the patient14358%8334%104%94%
For the primary care provider21889%239%31%1<1%
Treatment        
For the patient14961%7932%62%114%
For the primary care provider21588%2711%21%1<1%
Recommended ongoing care        
For the patient16065%6727%52%135%
For the primary care provider21588%2711%21%1<1%
What aspects of care your practice will follow     
For the patient14660%7832%94%125%
For the primary care provider21387%2912%21%1<1%
Is it the responsibility of oncology providers to give patients a report summarizing:DefinitelyMixed FeelingsDefinitely NotDon't Know
Diagnosis14860%9238%52%00%
Treatment15262%8836%42%1<1%
Recommended ongoing care15965%8133%42%1<1%
What aspects of care your practice will follow15162%8836%52%1<1%

Between 60% and 65% of respondents believed that providing summaries of each topic was definitely the responsibility of oncology providers, and 33% to 38% of respondents had mixed feelings regarding whether it was the oncology providers' responsibility (Table 3). Opinions differed by provider type. Physicians were less likely than nonphysicians to believe it was definitely the responsibility of oncology providers to provide summaries, compared with having mixed feelings or believing it was definitely not their responsibility (48%-50% among physicians compared with 78%-87% among nonphysicians; all P < .05) (data not shown).

Barriers to SCP Use

The most widely reported barrier to implementing SCPs was adequate personnel to complete the SCP (69%; N = 170), followed by time to collect information to complete the SCP (64%; N = 156) (Table 4). Twenty-nine respondents added that constructing the SCP, specifically collecting treatment information and creating the report or template, poses a difficulty. Thirteen respondents volunteered that patients either do not understand or do not want additional information.

Table 4. Barriers to the Creation and Distribution of SCPs (n=245)
 This Is/Would Be a ProblemThis Is Not/Would Not Be a ProblemNot Sure
 N%N%N%
  1. Abbreviation: SCP, survivorship care plan.

Personnel to complete the SCP17069%5924%167%
Time to collect information15664%7430%156%
Time to discuss the SCP with the patient11246%11848%156%
Personnel to discuss the SCP11246%11547%187%
Resources unrelated to time or personnel10543%10342%3715%
Institutional support8233%13254%3113%
Support from colleagues5422%16367%2811%
Medical or legal issues4217%16969%3414%

Strategies for SCP Use

To describe the usefulness of different implementation strategies, we limited our analysis to the 183 respondents who indicated that someone in their practice provides SCPs to their patients. For each of the 7 implementation strategies described in the questionnaire, fewer than one-half of this group reported that the strategy is ever used (Table 5). The most commonly used strategy was to delegate the completion of an SCP to a single person (N = 73 respondents; 40%), and most of those who use this strategy (N = 65 respondents; 89%) found this helpful. However, 49% of those who reported delegating SCP creation to a single person (N = 36) listed multiple people involved in the creation of SCPs, suggesting that the delegation of this task to a single person does not happen consistently. All the strategies were found to be helpful by at least 74% of respondents who reported using them. The most widely endorsed strategy was the use of a template with prespecified fields (N = 58 of 62 respondents who use this strategy; 94%). In post hoc chi-square tests, we found that none of the strategies correlated with the time to complete an SCP (all P < .05).

Table 5. Value of Strategies for the Implementation of SCPs Among Providers Who Use Them (n=183)
  Helpfulness of Strategy
 Used in PracticeHelpfulNot HelpfulDon't Know
StrategyN%N%N%N%
  1. Abbreviation: SCP, survivorship care plan.

Delegate completion of SCP to one person7340%6589%23%68%
Integrate SCP into survivorship visit6636%5786%35%69%
Use template with prespecified fields6234%5894%35%12%
Limit the content of the SCP5430%4889%00%611%
Bill for completion/discussion3921%3179%513%38%
Limit SCP delivery to certain patients3117%2374%619%26%
Integrate SCP into electronic health record2514%2080%312%28%

Open-Ended Comments Regarding the Timing of SCP Delivery

In response to suggestions for a better time to provide SCPs than after treatment completion, 45 respondents volunteered that before or during treatment would be better, including suggestions for early discussions of treatment plans and ongoing conversations throughout treatment.

When asked to volunteer additional strategies that are or would be helpful in their practice, the only new strategy that emerged was the need for training on the use of SCPs, including a specific call for evidence supporting SCP use (9 comments).

Open-Ended Comments Regarding SCPs

Eighty-eight respondents (36%) provided at least 1 comment about SCPs. Thirty respondents expressed that SCPs are (or would be) valuable. Three comments expressed an interest in SCPs becoming part of the standard of care for all patients. In contrast, 9 comments expressed reservations about the value of SCPs, including the belief that patients are satisfied with their verbal conversations about survivorship, patient complaints about being billed for SCPs, the additional stress that a large amount of information can cause for a patient, and the uncertain benefit to patients. Two respondents mentioned the lack of published evidence to support the benefit of SCPs.

Twenty comments addressed suggestions for the content of SCPs, including recommendations for families, detailed chemotherapy information, separate plans for different cancers, and updates when guidelines change. Two comments addressed targeting the content of SCPs to patient needs, and 3 comments recommended that SCPs be concise.

DISCUSSION

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS
  6. DISCUSSION
  7. FUNDING SUPPORT
  8. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
  9. REFERENCES

Although oncology leaders, survivorship experts, survivors, and primary care providers all express positive sentiments about SCPs, oncology providers are not uniformly providing them. This is true of our sample of community-based oncology providers in NCCCP hospitals and it has been observed at NCI-designated cancer centers as well.[10] Recognizing the upcoming American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer requirement, and the finding that NCCCP providers have an incentive to promote quality improvement in survivorship care, one might hypothesize that providers in these 2 settings would be early adopters of strategies to implement the use of SCPs, suggesting that implementation may be even lower at other practices. The results of the current study provide further insight into why there might still be limited use of this intervention among oncology practices.

Having adequate and appropriately trained staff to complete the SCP is critical for oncology practices. Delegating a single person to complete the SCP was reported as being helpful to 89% of the participants who do so, and multiple participants suggested the potential usefulness of a survivorship team approach. Nonphysician providers, suggested by 2 participants, are frequently used in survivorship care and often fill an important role in SCP implementation.[39, 41, 46]

SCP use also requires time. Prior studies estimated the time to complete an SCP is between 1 and 2 hours.[16, 19, 45] The results of the current study suggest a less time-consuming process for most providers, although there was significant variation. It is unknown whether providers in the current study are completing entire SCPs or more brief summaries of 1 or more topics. Regardless, the time to complete an SCP was listed as a challenge by 61% of respondents who provide SCPs and as a potential challenge by 67% of those who do not provide SCPs. The time needed to discuss the SCP with the patient also poses a problem for providers, although our findings suggest that this challenge is less significant.

Similar to other published surveys of oncologists, the majority of both oncologists and nonphysician oncology providers in the current study believe that SCPs are somewhat or very important to both survivors and their primary care providers.[15, 17] However, providers perceive that SCPs provide greater benefit for primary care providers than for patients, with > 85% reporting that each topic (diagnosis, treatment, recommended ongoing care, or aspects of oncology care follow-up) was very important for primary care providers and fewer than two-thirds reporting that each topic was very important to patients. It is possible that this perception arose in part from the technical presentation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology survivorship care plans, which likely are more relevant to clinicians than to patients. Ironically, SCPs were conceptualized as a patient-centered intervention that could enable survivors to manage their own health and be informed participants in their ongoing health care. If oncology providers doubt the relevance of SCPs for survivors, they may be less likely to offer SCPs to survivors and, even if they do, the content may be directed more toward primary care providers than the survivors themselves.

The perceived minimized relevance of SCPs for survivors is also troubling in light of the impending workforce shortages in both oncology and primary care.[28, 38, 47-50] Oncology practices will likely experience increasing pressure to stop seeing cancer survivors, and survivors may have difficulty seeking ongoing primary care. Survivors will need to take an active role in seeking informed care, whether from an oncology or primary care provider (or both), and a survivor-centered SCP is critical to assisting in their self-management and assuring continued comprehensive survivorship care.

We found ambivalence about whether oncology providers should be responsible for providing SCPs. Just < 67% of respondents believed that oncology providers were definitely responsible for providing information to their patients, and approximately one-third reported mixed feelings about oncology providers being responsible. Despite these mixed feelings, oncology providers are in the best position to disseminate personalized information regarding diagnosis and treatment, the aspect of SCP completion that likely takes the most time. In contrast, although oncology providers are in the best position to provide information about what follow-up care is recommended, some of this information may not differ within subgroups of cancer survivors and therefore need not be personalized for each patient. For example, although recommendations for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans depend on specific criteria and require personalization, many cancer-specific SCPs provided by the American Society of Clinical Oncology offer a generic list of ongoing tests and visits with recommended frequency, making it unnecessary for oncology providers to document this information for every survivor's SCP.[51-54] Similarly, a description of what aspects of care the oncology provider intends to oversee likely does not vary widely, if at all, between patients; for example, whether an oncologist takes responsibility for surveillance colonoscopy likely does not vary between survivors of colorectal cancer. Despite some ambivalence concerning whether they should provide this information, of all the parties involved, the oncology providers who complete and disseminate SCPs are in the best position to clarify their preferred division of responsibilities. If generic information can easily be entered into SCPs, resources can be directed toward the more time-consuming entry of patient-specific data.

Comments by respondents confirmed that although oncology providers find SCPs to be a good idea, there are also mixed feelings regarding the benefit of these documents. A minority of respondents use the strategies we listed for implementing SCPs. Even considering that some respondents may be unaware of how SCPs are implemented in their practices, the rates of use (12%-40%) are low. Some strategies, such as integrating SCPs into an electronic record, are difficult to enact. However, simpler strategies, such as using existing SCP templates or limiting the content of the SCP to a brief summary, are rarely in place. Because there is not yet evidence regarding which elements of SCPs improve outcomes, choosing concise templates and limiting content can be challenging. However, choices concerning content may be informed from a growing body of literature on survivor and primary care provider needs, which emphasizes the salient preferences for information among survivors (particularly information on self-management, signs of disease recurrence, and coordination of providers) and primary care providers (including information about coordination of care, recommendations for surveillance, and information about late effects).[10, 21, 55-57]

Although it is a less simple strategy to enact, automatically populating SCPs from the electronic health record could capitalize on data already being entered for clinical use and simplify SCP use in the long run. With an electronic platform linked to medical records, patient-specific information that could be used to direct ongoing care (such as medical data relevant to whether dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans are necessary for survivors of breast cancer) as well as more general guidelines for follow-up could be directly imported into the SCP, thereby minimizing the need to manually enter information. Some data relevant to treatment and diagnosis may already be captured for cancer registries. An electronic health record could facilitate the use of these data for the SCP. In the current study, only 16% of respondents who provide SCPs have them integrated into the electronic health record, suggesting this is one way to facilitate the implementation of SCPs.

Finally, there were significant differences between the perspectives of oncologists and nonphysician oncology providers. Oncologists were less likely than their counterparts to believe that receiving an SCP is important, both to survivors and their primary care providers. Oncologists were also less likely than nonphysicians to believe that oncology providers are definitely responsible for providing SCPs. These differences underscore the increased involvement of nonphysician clinicians in providing survivorship care (and SCPs).[39, 41] Although physicians may be focused primarily on treatment and surveillance, nonphysicians may have a broader perspective on comprehensive survivorship needs, including the need to communicate about ongoing care with patients and primary care providers.

The current study has limitations. Respondents may have been unaware of who else in the practice provides SCPs. One potential ramification of this is that providers who do not use SCPs may not be aware of the challenges involved. To explore this possibility, we conducted a sensitivity analysis of the barrier items, limiting the analysis to the 128 providers who themselves provide SCPs. Among respondents who personally provide SCPs to their patients, the same patterns of barriers were found to be present as with the entire sample, with personnel and time to complete the SCP endorsed by the highest percentages of respondents, suggesting that those who do not personally provide SCPs still understand the challenges involved in their implementation. It is important to include the responses of all participants, regardless of SCP use, because the perception of barriers may be responsible for whether providers use SCPs. Finally, the list of barriers and strategies that we presented in our questionnaire may not be complete. However, write-in responses reiterated many of the barriers and strategies presented, and a few new barriers and strategies were suggested.

To our knowledge, this is the first study to explicitly describe barriers to SCP use, strategies for SCP implementation, and buy-in from oncology providers. With a high response rate (70%) from both nonphysician and physician oncology providers at community hospitals across the United States, we found that resource issues to create information-rich SCPs pose a significant barrier to their creation. Despite broad approval of SCPs by survivors and primary care providers, implementation will likely remain limited unless resources become available to overcome significant barriers. Existing strategies to reduce burden are rarely used, and oncology providers may benefit from training focused on implementation strategies, as some respondents suggested. Community cancer centers aiming to provide SCPs (perhaps in response to American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accreditation standards) can help by working to enable the linkage of SCPs to electronic medical records. More critically, we found limited buy-in for SCP use, particularly in terms of the perceived value for the survivor and the idea that oncology providers are responsible for SCP use. Addressing practical challenges may not be enough to earn the buy-in of oncology providers. Ultimately, oncology providers are key stakeholders who do the work involved in providing SCPs to survivors, and they need to believe that this work is worth the effort. Proponents of SCP use may benefit from extending education about the information survivors and primary care providers want from SCPs, emphasizing the importance of the SCP as a tool to improve care coordination.

FUNDING SUPPORT

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS
  6. DISCUSSION
  7. FUNDING SUPPORT
  8. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
  9. REFERENCES

Supported by National Cancer Institute grants R03 CA 144682-01 and K05 CA160724-02.

REFERENCES

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS
  6. DISCUSSION
  7. FUNDING SUPPORT
  8. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
  9. REFERENCES
  • 1
    American Cancer Society. Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts and Figures 2012-2013. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2012.
  • 2
    Hewitt M, Greenfield S, Stovall E, eds. From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine and National Research Council; 2005.
  • 3
    Harrington CB, Hansen JA, Moskowitz M, Todd BL, Feuerstein M. It's not over when it's over: long-term symptoms in cancer survivors–a systematic review. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2010;40:163181.
  • 4
    Stricker CT, Jacobs LA. Physical late effects in adult cancer survivors. Oncology (Williston Park). 2008;22(suppl 8 nurse ed):3341.
  • 5
    Deimling GT, Bowman KF, Sterns S, Wagner LJ, Kahana B. Cancer-related health worries and psychological distress among older adult, long-term cancer survivors. Psychooncology. 2006;15:306320.
  • 6
    Stein KD, Syrjala KL, Andrykowski MA. Physical and psychological long-term and late effects of cancer. Cancer. 2008;112(suppl 11):25772592.
  • 7
    Cheung WY, Neville BA, Cameron DB, Cook EF, Earle CC. Comparisons of patient and physician expectations for cancer survivorship care. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27:24892495.
  • 8
    Grunfeld E, Earle CC. The interface between primary and oncology specialty care: treatment through survivorship. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2010;2010:2530.
  • 9
    Earle CC, Neville BA. Under use of necessary care among cancer survivors. Cancer. 2004;101:17121719.
  • 10
    Salz T, Oeffinger KC, McCabe MS, Layne TM, Bach PB. Survivorship care plans in research and practice. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62:101117.
  • 11
    Spain PD, Oeffinger KC, Candela J, McCabe M, Ma X, Tonorezos ES. Response to a treatment summary and care plan among adult survivors of pediatric and young adult cancer. J Oncol Pract. 2012;8:196202.
  • 12
    Baravelli C, Krishnasamy M, Pezaro C, et al. The views of bowel cancer survivors and health care professionals regarding survivorship care plans and post treatment follow up. J Cancer Surviv. 2009;3:99108.
  • 13
    Brennan ME, Butow P, Marven M, Spillane AJ, Boyle FM. Survivorship care after breast cancer treatment-experiences and preferences of Australian women. Breast. 2011;20:271277.
  • 14
    Burg MA, Lopez ED, Dailey A, Keller ME, Prendergast B. The potential of survivorship care plans in primary care follow-up of minority breast cancer patients. J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24(suppl 2):S467S471.
  • 15
    Hewitt ME, Bamundo A, Day R, Harvey C. Perspectives on post-treatment cancer care: qualitative research with survivors, nurses, and physicians. J Clin Oncol. 2007;25:22702273.
  • 16
    Jefford M, Lotfi-Jam K, Baravelli C, et al. Development and pilot testing of a nurse-led posttreatment support package for bowel cancer survivors. Cancer Nurs. 2011;34:E1E10.
  • 17
    Kantsiper M, McDonald EL, Geller G, Shockney L, Snyder C, Wolff AC. Transitioning to breast cancer survivorship: perspectives of patients, cancer specialists, and primary care providers. J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24(suppl 2):S459S466.
  • 18
    Marbach TJ, Griffie J. Patient preferences concerning treatment plans, survivorship care plans, education, and support services. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2011;38:335342.
  • 19
    Miller R. Implementing a survivorship care plan for patients with breast cancer. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2008;12:479487.
  • 20
    Royak-Schaler R, Passmore SR, Gadalla S, et al. Exploring patient-physician communication in breast cancer care for African American women following primary treatment. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2008;35:836843.
  • 21
    Smith SL, Singh-Carlson S, Downie L, Payeur N, Wai ES. Survivors of breast cancer: patient perspectives on survivorship care planning. J Cancer Surviv. 2011;5:337344.
  • 22
    Salz T, Oeffinger K, Lewis P, Williams R, Rhyne R, Yeazel M. Primary care providers' needs and preferences for information about colorectal cancer survivorship care. J Am Board Fam Med. 2012;25:635651.
  • 23
    Bober SL, Recklitis CJ, Campbell EG, et al. Caring for cancer survivors: a survey of primary care physicians. Cancer. 2009;115(suppl 18):44094418.
  • 24
    Shalom MM, Hahn EE, Casillas J, Ganz PA. Do survivorship care plans make a difference? A primary care provider perspective. J Oncol Pract. 2011;7:314318.
  • 25
    Faul LA, Rivers B, Shibata D, et al. Survivorship care planning in colorectal cancer: feedback from survivors and providers. J Psychosoc Oncol. 2012;30:198216.
  • 26
    Feuerstein M. The cancer survivorship care plan: health care in the context of cancer. J Oncol Pract. 2009;5:113115.
  • 27
    Earle CC. Failing to plan is planning to fail: improving the quality of care with survivorship care plans. J Clin Oncol. 2006;24:51125116.
  • 28
    Ganz PA. Quality of care and cancer survivorship: the challenge of implementing the institute of medicine recommendations. J Oncol Pract. 2009;5:101105.
  • 29
    President's Cancer Panel. Living Beyond Cancer: Finding a New Balance. Bethesda, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; 2004.
  • 30
    Boyajian R. Survivorship treatment summary and care plan: tools to address patient safety issues? Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2009;13:584586.
  • 31
    Denlinger CS, Carlson RW, Baker KS, et al; National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Cancer Survivorship. Fort Washington, PA: National Comprehensive Cancer Network; 2013.
  • 32
    American Society of Clinical Oncology. Cancer Survivorship: Next Steps for Patients and Their Families. Alexandria, VA: American Society of Clinical Oncology; 2011.
  • 33
    American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care: Working Draft. Chicago, IL: American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer; 2011.
  • 34
    Campbell M, Tessaro I, Gellin M, et al. Adult cancer survivorship care: experiences from the LIVESTRONG centers of excellence network. J Cancer Surviv. 2011;5:271282.
  • 35
    Watson EK, Sugden EM, Rose PW. Views of primary care physicians and oncologists on cancer follow-up initiatives in primary care: an online survey. J Cancer Surviv. 2010;4:159166.
  • 36
    Birken SA, Mayer DK, Weiner BJ. Survivorship care plans: prevalence and barriers to use. J Cancer Educ. 2013;28:290296.
  • 37
    Grunfeld E, Julian JA, Pond G, et al. Evaluating survivorship care plans: results of a randomized, clinical trial of patients with breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2011;29:47554762.
  • 38
    Erikson C, Salsberg E, Forte G, Bruinooge S, Goldstein M. Future supply and demand for oncologists: challenges to assuring access to oncology services. J Oncol Pract. 2007;3:7986.
  • 39
    Hahn EE, Ganz PA. Survivorship programs and care plans in practice: variations on a theme. J Oncol Pract. 2011;7:7075.
  • 40
    Landier W. Survivorship care: essential components and models of delivery. Oncology (Williston Park). 2009;23(suppl 4 nurse ed):4653.
  • 41
    McCabe MS, Jacobs L. Survivorship care: models and programs. Semin Oncol Nurs. 2008;24:202207.
  • 42
    Oeffinger KC, McCabe MS. Models for delivering survivorship care. J Clin Oncol. 2006;24:51175124.
  • 43
    Horning SJ. Follow-up of adult cancer survivors: new paradigms for survivorship care planning. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2008;22:201210, v.
  • 44
    Merport A, Lemon SC, Nyambose J, Prout MN. The use of cancer treatment summaries and care plans among Massachusetts physicians. Support Care Cancer. 2012;20:15791583.
  • 45
    Stricker CT, Jacobs LA, Risendal B, et al. Survivorship care planning after the institute of medicine recommendations: how are we faring? J Cancer Surviv. 2011;5:358370.
  • 46
    Grant M, Economou D, Ferrell BR. Oncology nurse participation in survivorship care. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2010;14:709715.
  • 47
    Debono D. Coping with the oncology workforce shortage: transitioning oncology follow-up care to primary care providers. J Oncol Pract. 2010;6:203205.
  • 48
    Klabunde CN, Ambs A, Keating NL, et al. The role of primary care physicians in cancer care. J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24:10291036.
  • 49
    Potosky AL, Han PK, Rowland J, et al. Differences between primary care physicians' and oncologists' knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding the care of cancer survivors. J Gen Intern Med. 2011;26:14031410.
  • 50
    Warren JL, Mariotto AB, Meekins A, Topor M, Brown ML. Current and future utilization of services from medical oncologists. J Clin Oncol. 2008;26:32423247.
  • 51
    American Society of Clinical Oncology. Colon Cancer Survivorship Care Plan. Version 2. Alexandria, VA: American Society of Clinical Oncology; 2007.
  • 52
    American Society of Clinical Oncology. Breast Cancer Survivorship Care Plan. Version 2. Alexandria, VA: American Society of Clinical Oncology; 2008.
  • 53
    American Society of Clinical Oncology. Cancer Treatment Summaries. http://www.cancer.net/survivorship/asco-cancer-treatment-summaries. Accessed November 11, 2013.
  • 54
    American Society of Clinical Oncology. ASCO Cancer Treatment Summaries. cancer.net/patient/Survivorship/ASCO+Cancer+Treatment+ Summaries. Accessed November 11, 2013.
  • 55
    Mayer DK, Gerstel A, Leak AN, Smith SK. Patient and provider preferences for survivorship care plans. J Oncol Pract. 2012;8:e80e86.
  • 56
    Smith SL, Wai ES, Alexander C, Singh-Carlson S. Caring for survivors of breast cancer: perspective of the primary care physician. Curr Oncol. 2011;18:e218e226.
  • 57
    Sprague BL, Dittus KL, Pace CM, et al. Patient satisfaction with breast and colorectal cancer survivorship care plans. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2013;17:266272.