Providers' communication-related concerns in helping patients address the financial impact of cancer

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Patient education and counseling


OBJECTIVES: This study describes the communication-related concerns of oncology providers in addressing financial issues with patients.

METHODS: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 17 providers (9 clinicians, 5 social workers/navigators, 3 attorneys) who addressed financial concerns with cancer patients and analyzed resulting transcripts using qualitative thematic analysis. Interview topics included cost-related concerns of patients, resources providers used, and unmet needs related to addressing financial issues. Here we present codes and content related to a cross-cutting cost communication, stratified by provider discipline.

RESULTS: Communication-related issues varied by provider type. Clinicians identified lack of information, lack of time, and the need for additional support as major barriers to effective cost discussions. Social workers/navigators expressed the importance of establishing a relationship before discussing costs and on the need to revisit cost concerns over time to meet patients' changing needs. The attorneys endorsed the need for more and earlier cost communication to prevent financial hardship.

CONCLUSION: Communication concerns and strategies were central to providers' experiences of addressing cancer patient cost concerns.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Understanding the experiences of diverse oncology providers can inform the development and implementation of interventions to prevent and mitigate financial hardship in people with cancer.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Neoplasms; Communication; Medical Oncology; Qualitative Research

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