Health Services Research

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Survey Studies

Cancer Patients’ and Healthcare Providers’ Perceptions about Supportive and Integrative Oncology Services

Background: Supportive and integrative oncology services improve quality of life for cancer patients and are increasingly popular. The goal of this study was to characterize and compare the perceptions of supportive and integrative oncology services among cancer patients and healthcare providers.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was administered at Seidman Cancer Center (SCC), part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, to providers and patients in the Spring of 2018. We inquired about familiarity, perceived importance, frequency of use, accessibility and barriers of 19 supportive and integrative oncology services. Data analysis included the Chi-square test and Spearman’s rank correlation (ρ).

Results: A total of 585 surveys were obtained (421 patients and 164 healthcare providers). Patients were generally over 60 (58.2%), female (57.4%), Caucasian (64.2%) with most at >1 year from starting treatment (59.9%). Healthcare providers were physicians (38.7%), RN partners (38.1%), and advanced practice providers (APPs) (23.2%). Most were female (74.3%), Caucasian (80%) and worked at SCC for >5 years (56.4%). Providers were more familiar with palliative care (71.7%) and felt it was more important (92%) than patients did (25.2% and 43.6%, p<0.001). Patients who were in treatment for a longer length of time were more familiar with social work, palliative care and psychiatry (ρ= 0.17, 0.14, 0.20; p<0.01). Most providers (>85%) of all types regarded palliative care, social work and diet & nutrition services as important. The most common barrier for both patients and providers was being unaware of the services (41.6% and 67.1%).

Conclusions: Overall, healthcare providers were more familiar and considered most services to be more important than patients with many supportive and integrative oncology services. Being unaware of the services was a common barrier.

Cancer Patients and Caregivers’ Interest and Willingness To Pay For Integrative Therapies

Authors: Olivia M. Larbi, Bethanny Bristol, Ming Li, Kate Daunov, Sean M. Hobson, Barbara Daly, Susan Mazanec, Denise Feyes, Sarah Rolfe, Nancy Tamburro, Kim Day2, Samuel Rodgers-Melnick, Hasina Momotaz, Gi-Ming Wang, Richard T. Lee

Background: Integrative therapies have been increasingly utilized by cancer patients, and this study examines perspectives about these therapies at a comprehensive cancer center in northeast Ohio.

Methods: Using Qualtrics, e-tablets and paper formats were used to survey Seidman Cancer Center (SCC) patients and caregivers about their familiarity, interest, and experience with five integrative therapies (acupuncture, massage, meditation, music, and yoga) from October 2017 to March 2018. Respondents were also asked about their interest levels if these therapies were recommended by their medical team or offered for free in a clinical trial, as well as about barriers to access.

Results: A total of 465 surveys were obtained - 388 patients and 77 caregivers. The respondents were Caucasian (63.3%), female (57.5%), had been a patient for <3 years at SCC (72.5%), completed high school (97.7%), and made <$60,000 as their annual household income (57.6%). Many respondents were unfamiliar with acupuncture (47.3%) and yoga therapy (47.1%); while therapeutic massage was the most familiar service (34.4%). Caregivers as compared to patients were more willing to pay over $20 for most services, especially yoga therapy (42.4% vs. 27.8%). Caregivers also showed more interest than patients when a health professional recommended a service, especially for therapeutic massage (72.2% vs. 58.7%) and yoga therapy (58.6% vs. 45.1%). When the service would be provided free in a clinical trial, patient and caregiver responses of ‘interested’ and ‘very interested’ had the largest increase for yoga therapy (from 34.4% to 44.6%). While caregivers responded that a lack of information (25.2%) was the main barrier preventing their loved ones from using services, patients identified cost (26.6%) as the main barrier to access.

Conclusions: Overall, many patients and caregivers were unfamiliar with these five integrative therapies. Recommendations by health professionals and participation in clinical trials increased interest in these therapies.