Engaging Patient Advocates and Other Stakeholders to Design Measures of Patient-Centered Communication in Cancer Care

Katherine Treiman, Lauren McCormack, Murrey Olmsted, Nancy Roach, Bryce B Reeve, Christa E Martens, Rebecca R Moultrie, Hanna Sanoff
Patient 2017, 10 (1): 93-103

BACKGROUND: Patient-centered communication (PCC) is an essential component of patient-centered care and contributes to patient satisfaction, health-related quality of life, and other important patient outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to develop and test survey questions to assess patients' experiences with PCC in cancer care.

METHODS: We used a conceptual model developed by the National Cancer Institute as our framework. The survey questions align with the six core functions of PCC defined in the model: Exchanging Information, Managing Uncertainty, Enabling Patient Self-Management, Fostering Healing Relationships, Making Decisions, and Responding to Emotions. The study focused on colorectal cancer patients. We conducted two rounds of cognitive interviewing to evaluate patients' ability to understand and provide valid answers to the PCC questions. Interviews were conducted in Maryland and North Carolina in 2014. We involved a patient advocacy group, Fight Colorectal Cancer, and a multidisciplinary panel of stakeholders throughout the measurement development process to ensure that the survey questions capture aspects of PCC that are important to patients and meet the needs of potential end users, including researchers, healthcare organizations, and health professionals.

RESULTS: Patient and other stakeholder input informed revisions of draft survey questions, including changes to survey instructions, frame of reference for questions, response scales, and language.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated the feasibility and value of engaging patients and other stakeholders in a measurement development study. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) conceptual model of patient-centered outcomes research provides a useful guide for patient engagement in research. Research funders should call for meaningful roles for patients and other stakeholders in health research, including in the development of patient-centered outcomes.

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