Understanding quality and equity: patient experiences with care in older adults diagnosed with hematologic malignancies

Cancer Causes Control. 2021 Apr;32(4):379-389. doi: 10.1007/s10552-021-01395-4. Epub 2021 Feb 10.


Background: Oncology settings increasingly use patient experience data to evaluate clinical performance. Given that older patients with hematologic malignancies are a high-risk population, this study examined factors associated with patient-reported health care experiences during the first year of their cancer diagnosis.

Methods: Cross-sectional study using the 2000-2015 SEER-CAHPS® data to examine patient experiences of Medicare enrollees with a primary diagnosis of leukemia or lymphoma. The primary outcomes were three CAHPS assessments: overall care, personal doctor, and health plan overall. We estimated case-mix adjusted and fully adjusted associations between factors (i.e., clinical and sociodemographic) and the CAHPS outcomes using bivariate statistical tests and multiple linear regression.

Results: The final sample included 1,151 patients, with 431 diagnosed with leukemia and 720 diagnosed with lymphoma (median time from diagnosis to survey 6 months). Patients who completed the survey further apart from the diagnosis date reported significantly higher adjusted ratings of care overall (β .39, p = .008) than those closer to diagnosis. American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, and Pacific Islander patients had lower adjusted ratings of care overall (β - .73, p = .003) than Non-Hispanic white patients. Multimorbidity was significantly associated with higher adjusted personal doctor ratings (β .26, p = .003).

Conclusions: Unfavorable patient experiences among older adults diagnosed with hematologic malignancies warrant targeted efforts to measure and improve care quality. Future measurement of experiences of cancer care soon after diagnosis, coupled with careful sampling of high-priority populations, will inform oncology leaders and clinicians on strategies to improve care for high-risk, high-cost populations.

Keywords: Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS); Health care quality; Hematologic diseases; Patient experience.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alaska Natives
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicare
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • SEER Program
  • United States
  • White People