Patient experience and satisfaction have become integral measures for value-based care, and although significant study has gone into understanding these factors, little has related to outpatient cancer care. Assessing the cancer patient experience by looking at the issues about which patients submit complaints can offer tremendous insight for quality improvement, the research team said.
“Complaints offer distinct perspectives that compliment data available in safety reporting systems,” the researchers explained. “In addition, information reported to Patient/Family Relations is uniquely focused on the patient perspective. Sharing this information with clinicians and hospital leaders provides an important opportunity to address problematic aspects of patient-centered care delivery.”
Investigating the care experience in outpatient cancer care is especially important because of the unique nature of cancer care. Cancer treatment is often longitudinal, requiring long-term relationships with an extensive care team. Cancer being a serious illness that calls for complex treatment protocol also emphasizes the need for clear and empathetic communication.
That communication – and other patient-centered care principles – often fall short, the researchers determined. In a content analysis of complaints submitted to the Patient/Family Relations Office at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the researchers found that patients and families were more concerned with patient-provider relationships than with care quality and safety.
The team organized two years’ worth of complaints into the following categories: