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Patient-centered Communication in Cancer Care Symposium

On May 15-16, 2006, the Outcomes Research Branch (ORB) and the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch (HCIRB) organized a symposium on Patient-centered Communication (PCC) in Bethesda, MD. Participants included more than 25 researchers and practitioners from federal agencies, private sector healthcare systems, cancer centers, and other academic departments. The expert panel of researchers and practitioners represented various areas of expertise, including oncology, nursing, primary care, health services research, large delivery systems, communication and behavioral sciences, and patient advocacy.

Participants were asked to review a conceptual framework developed by Ronald M. Epstein, MD, and Richard L. Street, Jr., Ph.D., as part of their work on the NCI monograph Patient-Centered Communication in Cancer Care: Promoting Healing and Reducing Suffering. Two patient case studies were introduced to illustrate the application of the PCC conceptual framework and generate discussion.

In applying the conceptual framework, participants engaged in detailed discussion on the functions of PCC and patient outcomes. Participants also identified methodological challenges and made recommendations for future NCI-funded research.

The symposium addressed several key issues related to PCC in cancer care, including:

  • pathways by which the functions of PCC are likely to affect desired patient health outcomes across the cancer continuum;
  • key variables that are likely to facilitate or mitigate the relationship between the functions of PCC and patient health outcomes;
  • challenges in measuring and monitoring the functions of PCC; and
  • interventions needed to ensure the functions of PCC are accomplished as part of routine cancer care delivery.

The discussions and commentaries presented at the symposium resulted in significant revision to the monograph Patient-Centered Communication in Cancer Care: Promoting Healing and Reducing Suffering.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013