Primary Care Provider Evaluation of Cancer Survivorship Care Plans Developed for Patients in their Practice

J Gen Pract (Los Angel). 2014 Jul;2(4):163. doi: 10.4172/2329-9126.1000163. Epub 2014 May 26.


Objective: Survivorship care plans (SCP), which describe a cancer survivor's diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, are recommended. The study objective was to evaluate primary care providers' (PCP) responses to SCPs developed for breast and colorectal cancer survivors in their practice and to determine whether PCP response to the SCPs varied according to characteristics of the practitioner and their practice.

Method: SCPs were created using the Journey Forward® Care Plan for breast and colorectal cancer patients in rural and urban settings. The SCP and a survey were sent to PCPs.

Participants: Primary care physicians.

Main measures: Attitudes regarding survivorship care plans.

Results: Thirty-nine (70.9% response rate) surveys were completed. Most felt the SCP was useful (90%), that it enhanced understanding (75%) and that detail was sufficient (>80%). However, 15% disagreed that the care plan helped them understand their role, a perception especially prevalent among PCPs in the rural setting. Among PCPs with ≤ 18 years in practice, 95% agreed that the SCP would improve communication with patients, contrasted with 60% of those with >21 years in practice. The most common barrier to providing follow-up care was limited access to survivors.

Conclusions: While SCPs appear to improve PCPs understanding of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, clear delineation of each provider's role in follow-up care is needed. Additional detail on which tests are needed and education on late and long term effects of cancer may improve coordination of care.

Keywords: Cancer survivor; Care transitions; Health communication.