The effect of including a ‘psychooncological statement’ in the discharge summary on patient-physician communication: a randomized controlled trial

Authors

  • Katrin Book,

    Corresponding author
    1. Roman-Herzog Comprehensive Cancer, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
    2. Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
    • Correspondence: Roman-Herzog Comprehensive Cancer Center, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Munich, Germany. E-mail: bookk@web.de

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  • Andreas Dinkel,

    1. Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
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  • Gerhard Henrich,

    1. Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
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  • Claudia Stuhr,

    1. Clinic for Internal Oncology/Hematology, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Mareike Peuker,

    1. Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, Universitätsklinikum Leipzig AöR, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Kristin Härtl,

    1. Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany
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  • Elmar Brähler,

    1. Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, Universitätsklinikum Leipzig AöR, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Peter Herschbach

    1. Roman-Herzog Comprehensive Cancer, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
    2. Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
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Abstract

Objective

The objective of this study is to determine whether the inclusion of a ‘psychooncological statement’ (PO-statement) in the discharge summary enhances patient-physician communication about psychosocial issues across the inpatient and outpatient sector.

Methods

A total of 1416 cancer patients were randomly assigned to the intervention (with PO-statement in the discharge summary) or control group (discharge summary without PO-statement). Shortly before discharge from the hospital (T1), patients from the intervention group were screened for psychosocial distress. Based on the electronic clinical documentation system, screening results were subsequently integrated into the discharge summary, which automatically generated a PO-statement. To determine the effect of the PO-statement, patients as well as their primary care physicians (n = 596) were asked during follow-up care (T2) whether psychosocial distress was discussed during the last consultation.

Results

Including a PO-statement in the discharge summary did not result in more frequent discussions about psychosocial issues compared with the control group from the patients' and physicians' perspectives. Instead, discussions about psychosocial well-being were significantly associated with women of the patient (p = <0.001) and the physician (p = 0.011), medical discipline (gynecologists; p = 0.002), cancer diagnosis (gynecological cancer; p = 0.002), metastases (p = <0.001), professional training of patients (none, p = 0.026), and psychosocial qualification of physicians (p = 0.018).

Conclusion

Written information on psychosocial distress in the discharge summary alone does not affect communication. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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