US radiation oncology practice patterns for posttreatment survivor care.
PURPOSE: Increasing numbers of cancer survivors have driven a greater focus on care of cancer patients after treatment. Radiation oncologists have long considered follow-up of patients an integral part of practice. We sought to document current survivor-focused care patterns and identify barriers to meeting new regulatory commission guidelines for survivorship care plans (SCPs) and provide guidance for survivorship care. METHODS AND MATERIALS: A 23-question electronic survey was e-mailed to all practicing US physician American Society of Radiation Oncology members. Responses were collected for 25 days in March 2014. Survey data were descriptively analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 574 eligible providers responded, for a response percentage of 14.7%. Almost all providers follow their patients after treatment (97%). Length of follow-up was frequently extensive: 17% followed up to 2 years, 40% for 3-5 years, 12% for 6-10 years, and 31% indefinitely. Ancillary services, particularly social work and nutrition services, are commonly available onsite to patients in follow-up. Fewer than half of respondents (40%) indicated that they currently use SCPs for curative intent patients and those who do generally use internally developed templates. SCPs typically go to patients (91%), but infrequently to primary care providers (22%). The top 3 barriers to implementation of SCPs were cost (57%), duplicative survivorship care plans provided by other physicians (43%), and lack of consensus or professional guidelines (40%). Eighty-seven percent indicated that SCPs built into an electronic medical record system would be useful. CONCLUSIONS: A significant part of radiation oncology practice includes the care of those in the surveillance of follow-up phase of care. SCPs may be beneficial in improving communication with the patient and other care but are not widely used within our field. This survey identified key barriers to use of SCPs and provides specialty guidance for important information to be included in a radiation oncology oriented SCP.
Koontz, BF; Benda, R; De Los Santos, J; Hoffman, KE; Huq, MS; Morrell, R; Sims, A; Stevens, S; Yu, JB; Chen, RC
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