What information do general practitioners need to care for patients with lung cancer? A survey of general practitioners perceptions

Health Inf Manag. 2010;39(1):8-16. doi: 10.1177/183335831003900103.


General practitioners (GPs) are an integral part of the multidisciplinary team that care for patients with lung cancer. It is essential that patient information including results of tests, management plans, treatment, and follow-up arrangements are communicated between hospital-based carers and the community-based GP. The aim of this study was to explore GPs' views about the information they need from hospital-based health professionals in the management of their patients with lung cancer. This exploration is undertaken within the context of a multidisciplinary model of care, a relatively new concept in service delivery for cancer patients. Data were collected using a questionnaire that was distributed to the population of 433 GPs from one Australian regional Division of General Practice. Questions related to from whom, what, when and how GPs would like to receive information from the multidisciplinary hospital-based lung cancer team. GPs reported that they wanted information from all members of the multidisciplinary hospital-based lung cancer team, not just physicians. The key triggers for communication included: any change in the patient's condition; following initial outpatient visit; at admission and discharge; and following treatment milestones. Both medical and social information were seen as important to GPs and there was strong support to receive information electronically. This study illustrates the desire by GPs to receive information from all members of the hospital-based lung cancer team if it is relevant to the ongoing care of their patient. Technology-enabled solutions, such as an electronic multidisciplinary discharge summary, the electronic health record and the person-controlled electronic health record, offer strategies to improve both timeliness and access to information.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • General Practitioners*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male