Tools to facilitate communication during physician‐patient consultations in cancer care: An overview of systematic reviews

Cancer patients often face complex decisions about treatment and symptom management under distressing circumstances. Effective communication between patients and physicians increases satisfaction with care, and improves many aspects of the patient’s experience. Many tools have been developed to facilitate communication and support the exchange of information between cancer patients and their physicians. Patient‐reported outcome measures, question prompt lists, patient‐held records, tape recordings of consultations, decision aids, and survivorship care plans have all been promoted as potential tools, and there is extensive literature exploring their impact on patient outcomes. This study aimed to assist physicians in choosing appropriate, evidence-based tools to improve patient outcomes by examining and summarising evidence from systematic reviews. The review appraises the quality of evidence, determine the effectiveness of tools on patient outcomes, and identify research gaps in order to assist physicians in choosing which tools would be most appropriate, and evidence based, to use to improve outcomes for their patients. The results suggest that based on the available evidence, question prompt lists and patient‐reported outcome measures are the most effective tools to facilitate physician‐patient communication and benefit people with a cancer diagnosis. Physician engagement with these tools is vital to effectively improve patient outcomes.

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