Background: Despite growing attention to patient-centered care, the needs of cancer patients are not always met.
Objective: Using a RAND modified Delphi method, this study aimed to systematically develop evidence-based indicators, to be used to measure the quality of patient-centered cancer care as a first step toward improvement.
Methods: First, key recommendations were identified from literature and were distributed over 5 domains of patient-centered cancer care: communication, physical support, psychosocial care, after-care, and organization of care. Generic key recommendations, with best available evidence, were selected from guidelines. A multidisciplinary panel of patients and medical professionals (n = 14) rated and prioritized these recommendations in a written procedure. Subsequently, the panel discussed the recommendations at a consensus meeting.
Results: Key recommendations were identified for communication (n = 32), physical support (n = 13), psychosocial care (n = 25), after-care (n = 11), and organization of care (n = 11). For all domains, recommendations based on high-level evidence were identified except for after-care and physical support. The panel developed 17 indicators concerning criteria for communication and informed consent, evaluation of communication skills, provision of information, examination of emotional health, appointment of a care coordinator, physical complaints, follow-up, rehabilitation, psychosocial effects of waiting times, and self-management.
Conclusions: A set of 17 indicators for patient-centered cancer care resulted from this study. Evidence support was available for most indicators.
Implications for practice: This set provides an opportunity to measure and improve the quality of patient-centered cancer care. It is generic and therefore applies to many patients.