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Doctor-patient communication and quality of life – the development of a training program for oncologists

McCluskey, Serena, Abhyankar, Purva, Greenhalgh, Joanne, Takeuchi, Elena and Velikova, Galina (2008) Doctor-patient communication and quality of life – the development of a training program for oncologists. In: National Cancer Research Institute Conference, Sunday 5 October-Wednesday 8 October 2008, Birmingham, UK. (Unpublished)

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It is recognised that routine assessment of quality of life (QoL) can improve detection of patients’ problems but little evidence exists which suggests that it impacts on patient management and well-being. It is acknowledged that clinicians may not have the tacit knowledge to fully address QoL issues, and therefore we aim to develop a training programme to assist oncologists in the interpretation and response to patient-reported QoL data.


We outline the theoretical and empirical approaches informing the development of this training programme. In a previous study, oncologists were presented with patient-reported QoL data, resulting in an increase in the discussion of these issues in the consultation and a significant improvement in patient well-being. However, the underlying mechanisms linking the use of patient-reported data in clinical decision making to outcomes were unclear. A further literature review revealed a dearth of evidence linking communication skills training to improvements in patient QoL. Therefore, underlying mechanisms are further explored using qualitative and observational analyses of previously recorded oncology consultations where patient-reported QoL data were used.


Based on patient-centred and shared decision-making theories, along with the empirical evidence on doctor-patient communication, a framework for the training program is outlined and preliminary findings of the consultation analysis will be presented.


Patient-centred communication is widely promoted but with vague definition and little understanding of underlying mechanisms. This study attempts to redress this imbalance and provide clinically-relevant evidence which will inform a future training program.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Additional Information: Poster Session Three: Behaviour, education and communication No C13
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Institute for Skin Integrity and Infection Prevention
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Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2009 15:45
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 10:48


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