Definition and Coordination of Roles and Responsibilities Among Cancer Center Clinic and Research Personnel

JCO Oncol Pract. 2020 Jan;16(1):e64-e74. doi: 10.1200/JOP.19.00315. Epub 2019 Oct 7.


Purpose: Effective enrollment and treatment of patients in cancer clinical trials require definition and coordination of roles and responsibilities among clinic and research personnel.

Materials and methods: We developed a survey that incorporated modified components of the Survey of Physician Attitudes Regarding the Care of Cancer Survivors. Surveys were administered to clinic nursing staff and research personnel at a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Results were analyzed using χ2-tests, t tests, and analyses of variance.

Results: Surveys were completed by 105 staff members (n = 50 research staff, n = 55 clinic staff; 61% response rate). Research staff were more likely to feel that they had the skills to answer questions, convey information, and provide education for patients on trials (all P < .05). Both clinic and research staff reported receipt of communication about responsibilities in fewer than 30% of cases, although research staff reported provision of such information in more than 60% of cases. Among 20 tasks related to care of patients in trials, no single preferred model of responsibility assignment was selected by the majority of clinic staff for nine tasks (45%) or by research staff for three tasks (15%). Uncertainty about which team coordinates care was reported by three times as many clinic staff as research staff (P = .01). There was also substantial variation in the preferred model for delivery of care to patients in trials (P < .05).

Conclusion: Knowledge, attitudes, and perception of care and responsibilities for patients on clinical trials differ between and among clinic and research personnel. Additional research about how these findings affect efficiency and quality of care on clinical trials is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cancer Care Facilities / standards*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Research Personnel
  • Surveys and Questionnaires