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Computer-Based Survey and Communication Aid in Improving Physician-Patient Communication and Treatment Decision Making in Patients With Metastatic Cancer

This study has been completed.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Fox Chase Cancer Center Identifier:
First received: October 25, 2005
Last updated: January 28, 2013
Last verified: January 2013

RATIONALE: A computer-based survey and communication aid may help physicians and patients to communicate better and help make treatment decisions easier.

PURPOSE: This phase III randomized clinical trial is studying how well giving a computer-based survey together with a communication aid works compared to a computer-based survey alone in improving physician-patient communication and treatment decision making in patients with metastatic cancer.

Condition Intervention Phase
Metastatic Cancer
Unspecified Adult Solid Tumor, Protocol Specific
Other: counseling intervention
Other: educational intervention
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Official Title: Facilitating Decision Making in Advanced Cancer Patients

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Fox Chase Cancer Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Satisfaction with patient-physician communication by Medical Interview Satisfaction Survey and Face Valid Survey given immediately after the first consultation
  • Assess decisional conflict by Decisional Conflict Scale immediately after the first consultation and at 3 months after study completion
  • Expectations regarding potential benefits and adverse reactions associated with treatment options by Treatment Options Expectations Scale given immediately after the first consultation and at 3 months after study completion
  • Assess content of consultation by applying a coding scheme to transcripts and design yes/no questions immediately after the first consultation

Estimated Enrollment: 720
Study Start Date: July 2003
Primary Completion Date: April 2007 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Detailed Description:


  • Compare satisfaction with physician-patient communication and decisional conflict in patients with metastatic cancer undergoing a computer-based survey with vs without a communication aid.
  • Compare patient expectations regarding potential benefits and adverse reactions associated with treatment options in patients undergoing the computer-based survey and communication aid.
  • Compare the content of physician-patient consultations in patients undergoing the computer-based survey and communication aid.

OUTLINE: This is a randomized, controlled, multicenter study.

Patients are randomized to 1 of 3 study arms.

  • Arm I (generic computer-based survey): Patients complete a 45- to 60-minute generic computer-based survey that assesses demographics, familiarity and comfort with computers, treatment history, and affective elements.
  • Arm II (targeted computer-based survey and communication aid with physician summary report): Patients complete a 45- to 60-minute targeted computer-based survey assessing patient values, information needs, and distress. Patients then complete a targeted computer-based communication aid that addresses cognitive and affective components of cancer treatment education and provides communication skills training. After completion of the survey and communication aid, a summary report of the survey results is generated and provided to the patient's physician.
  • Arm III (targeted computer-based survey and communication aid): Patients complete a targeted computer-based survey and communication aid as in arm II. No summary report is provided to the physician.

After completion of a computer-based survey and communication aid, all patients undergo a consultation with their physician. A randomized subset of 25% of physician consultations* are audiotaped and later analyzed. Patients complete a 15-minute written survey after completion of the physician consultation and then at 3 months.

NOTE: *Patients are stratified according to study arm (I vs II vs III) and consulting physician gender for this randomization.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 720 patients will be accrued for this study.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Documented metastatic malignancy
  • First visit with medical oncologist at study site


Performance status

  • Not specified

Life expectancy

  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • Able to read and speak English


  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00244868

United States, Illinois
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611-3013
United States, Pennsylvania
Fox Chase Cancer Center - Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19111-2497
United States, Tennessee
MBCCOP - Meharry Medical College - Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee, United States, 37208-3599
Sponsors and Collaborators
Fox Chase Cancer Center
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Principal Investigator: Neal J. Meropol, MD Fox Chase Cancer Center
  More Information

Responsible Party: Fox Chase Cancer Center Identifier: NCT00244868     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: CDR0000442928
Study First Received: October 25, 2005
Last Updated: January 28, 2013

Keywords provided by Fox Chase Cancer Center:
unspecified adult solid tumor, protocol specific
metastatic cancer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Neoplasm Metastasis
Neoplasms, Second Primary
Neoplastic Processes
Pathologic Processes processed this record on May 25, 2017