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Patient Preference Survey for Radiation Oncologists

This study has been completed.
University of Pittsburgh
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Dwight Heron, University of Pittsburgh Identifier:
First received: January 4, 2008
Last updated: December 23, 2015
Last verified: December 2015
Limited data exists for the cancer patients' preferences on their patient-doctor interaction with their radiation oncologist. These physicians have the opportunity to develop intimate relationships with their patients since these patients typically require daily radiation treatments anywhere from one to seven weeks. Thus, by having a greater understanding of the individual patient preferences, the radiation oncologists will be able to better serve their patients leading to improved patient satisfaction with their physician and healthier outlook on life. This is the premise and the hypothesis of this study.

Condition Intervention
Breast Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Lung Cancer
Behavioral: Physician behavior related to Patient Preference Survey
Other: Patient Preference Results

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Participant)
Official Title: How Can Radiation Oncologists Better Serve Their Patients? A Randomized Study to Determine Whether Radiation Oncologists Can Improve Patient Satisfaction by Attempting to Meet Their Patients' Preferences

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Pittsburgh:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Did knowledge of patient preference improve patient satisfaction [ Time Frame: Length of radiation treatment ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Patient preferences regarding their radiation oncologists [ Time Frame: Length of radiation treatment course ]

Enrollment: 500
Study Start Date: April 2006
Study Completion Date: April 2008
Primary Completion Date: April 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
No Intervention: 1
Patients whose radiation oncologist are blinded to their patient preference survey results
Active Comparator: 2
Patients whose radiation oncologist are not blinded to their patient preference survey results
Behavioral: Physician behavior related to Patient Preference Survey
Access to initial Patient preference survey results
Other: Patient Preference Results
Knowledge of Patient Preference Results

Detailed Description:

An instrument, a questionnaire, previously developed by our group (IRB# 0512075) will be used to determine these cancer patient/subjects' preferences for the following six categories (see Appendix 1)

  1. How should the radiation oncologist address them (by their first name or Mr/Mrs)?
  2. Should the radiation oncologists wear a white coat?
  3. Should the radiation oncologist discuss their prognosis and survival with them?
  4. Should the radiation oncologist have physical contact with their patient (hold hand or hug the patient.)?
  5. Should the radiation oncologist inquire about their religious beliefs to help cope with their cancer?
  6. Should the radiation oncologist use basic, lay language or more technical terminology when describing the radiation treatment?

This research study will consist of a randomized study of breast, prostate, and lung cancer patients/subjects receiving radiation therapy at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Centers who will complete this questionnaire. Radiation therapy can be either for definitive or palliative therapy. This creates six distinct cohorts in the study (definitive breast, prostate, and lung cancer, palliative breast, prostate, and lung cancer) that provide an adequate representation of the cancer patient/subject cohorts that receive radiation therapy.

Patients/subjects will answer this questionnaire at the time of the initial consultation with the radiation oncologist (before meeting the radiation oncologist), once midway during radiation therapy, and at the completion of the radiation treatment. At completion, there will be additional questions used from a modified version of an established validated instrument currently being used at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute to assess patient/subject satisfaction. (Appendix 2). Participants will rate the importance of each item on a 5-point scale: strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, or strongly agree. They will also use a parallel ranking from 0-100 on each item to more finely assess the satisfaction differences for the survey in Appendix 2 only.

After subjects answer the questionnaire at time of initial consultation, the subject will then be randomized to either an experimental or control group. In the experimental group, the radiation oncologist participants will read their patient's responses to this questionnaire prior to their initial consultation and try to adapt to the subject's (patient's) preferences. In the control group, the radiation oncologist participant will be blinded to the results of their patient's questionnaire. At the end of treatment, the radiation oncologists who viewed their patient preferences will have to answer the following question according to the 5 point scale system: "Did knowledge of your patient's preferences influence your behavior?" The radiation oncologist participant will not have access to the patient satisfaction survey.

The duration of study per patient participant will the duration of the radiation treatment which has an average length of 4 weeks. A subject accrual of 500 patient participants and 30 radiation oncologist participants is expected at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Centers, consisting of 19 Radiation Oncology centers across Western Pennsylvania. The expected duration of the entire study is 1 year. The data will be collected through these instruments to generate a database collected in our database management system. The data will be coded and maintained by the clinical study coordinator.


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

Inclusion Criteria:Any Patient/subject (adult male or female) with prostate or breast or lung cancer (Primary or Metastatic) who is scheduled to receive radiation therapy at one of the UPMC Cancer Centers

  • Patient/subject must receive radiation treatment in addition to consultation with the Radiation Oncologist
  • Patient/subject must meet with radiation oncologist at least one day per week while receiving radiation therapy.
  • Any attending radiation oncologist whose patient is enrolled in this study

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patient/subject under age 18 If subject previously underwent this study, even if the previous study was for a different diagnosis. Subjects can only undergo this study once.

Patients/subjects who do not have the functional and mental capacity to independently answer the questionnaire.

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00595218

United States, Pennsylvania
UPMC Cancer Centers
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, 15213
Sponsors and Collaborators
Dwight Heron
University of Pittsburgh
Principal Investigator: Ajay Bhatnagar, MD University of Pittsburgh
  More Information

Responsible Party: Dwight Heron, PI Mentor, University of Pittsburgh Identifier: NCT00595218     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: PittRadOnc
ASTRO grant
Study First Received: January 4, 2008
Last Updated: December 23, 2015

Keywords provided by University of Pittsburgh:
Patient Preferences
Patient Satisfaction
Patient-Doctor Relationship processed this record on April 24, 2017