Needs with Regard to Decision Support Systems for Treating Patients with Incurable Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

J Cancer Educ. 2020 Apr;35(2):345-351. doi: 10.1007/s13187-019-1471-8.


Treatment decision-making for patients with incurable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is complex due to the rapidly increasing number of treatments and discovery of new biomarkers. Decision support systems (DSS) could assist thoracic oncologists (TO) weighing of the pros and cons of treatments in order to arrive at an evidence-based and personalized treatment advice. Our aim is to inventory (1) TO's needs with regard to DSS in the treatment of incurable (stage IIIB/IV) NSCLC patients, and (2) preferences regarding the development of future tools in this field. We disseminated an online inventory questionnaire among all members of the Section of Oncology within the Society of Physicians in Chest Medicine and Tuberculosis. Telephone interviews were conducted to better contextualize the findings from the questionnaire. In total, 58 TO completed the questionnaire and expressed a need for new DSS. They reported that it is important for tools to include genetic and immune markers, to be sufficiently validated, regularly updated, and time-efficient. Also, future DSS should incorporate multiple treatment options, integrate estimates of toxicity, quality of life and cost-effectiveness of treatments, enhance communication between caregivers and patients, and use IT solutions for a clear interface and continuous updating of tools. With this inventory among Dutch TO, we summarized the need for new DSS to aid treatment decision-making for patients with incurable NSCLC. To meet the expressed needs, substantial additional efforts will be required by DSS developers, above already existing tools.

Keywords: Decision support systems; Non-small-cell lung cancer; Surveys and questionnaires.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires