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Dr Carrie Stricker Discusses the Importance of the Patient Voice in Oncology Treatment Decisions

Oncologists must recognize the importance of the patient voice when making treatment decisions so that the treatment plan can be adapted to each patientís goals and desires, said Carrie Stricker, PhD, RN, AOCN, chief clinical officer and co-founder of Carevive.


Oncologists must recognize the importance of the patient voice when making treatment decisions so that the treatment plan can be adapted to each patient’s goals and desires, said Carrie Stricker, PhD, RN, AOCN, chief clinical officer and co-founder of Carevive.

Transcript (slightly modified)

What is the importance of including patient voices when providing decision support to clinicians?

So I think that the attention to the patient voice at time of treatment decision making, in clinical decision making, is thankfully increasing by leaps and bounds. I’ll highlight for a moment—I am a volunteer for American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)—I’ll highlight for a moment ASCO’s value framework as one of the proliferating models for helping to ensure that clinicians can make evidence-based and very person-centered decisions at the point of care. And one of the 3 major factors that are included in that value framework is the patient’s voice and the patient’s preferences.

If we don’t ask a patient what their goals are, what’s valuable to them, and reflect that into our decision making, we could have a patient who really wants to have as their primary goal adequate quality of life and survival to make a significant wedding or other family event without their hair, or with enough functional status intact to be present physically and emotionally for that event, we could end up giving them a highly toxic regimen that they would not want had they known that that would be the outcome for them.

So it’s absolutely crucial, and studies have shown again and again that we must get also at the patient’s understanding of what the goals of that treatment is for them. Some studies have shown that more than half of patients may think treatment is curative when in fact it’s intended to control, perhaps for long periods of time, but control and not cure disease. And we know from many case examples, analyses and studies that patients say they would have made very different decisions had they known that information and had an opportunity to have an active voice in that treatment decision making and have it adapted to their preferences and goals and concerns.

 
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