DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This proposed research addresses the need to ensure that cancer patients have access to the information they need to make informed decisions. Research shows that patients who actively seek information by asking questions during outpatient encounters receive more information and other benefits than patients who ask fewer questions. The proposed study investigates factors that may be related to patient information seeking by systematically observing and analyzing questions asked by a diverse population of patients (and companions, if present) during previously video recorded oncology interactions. Factors hypothesized to be related to patient information seeking are (a) patient socio-demographic characteristics (i.e., age, race, socioeconomic status); (b) the presence and information seeking patterns of companions; and (c) the quality of the relationship with the oncologist. Data for this secondary analysis were collected as part of a larger NCI-funded study. Data consist of video recorded interactions and demographic information from patients, companions and oncologists at an urban comprehensive cancer center (N = 160). Two preliminary observational systems were developed and applied; the first analyzes the observed quality of the relationship with the oncologist and the second analyzes the frequency and content of questions asked during the interactions. Findings from a pilot study (N = 28) indicate that a) companions ask more questions than patients and b) positive companion-oncologist relationships are negatively related to the frequency of patient questions. Further, findings suggest that older patients are more likely to bring a companion and ask fewer questions than younger patients, and Black patients are less likely to bring a companion than White patients. Although the analytical systems were found to be useful and findings are intriguing, the small sample size limited further analysis. The proposed study extends this research by systematically observing and analyzing the entire archive of interactions (N = 160) to investigate factors related to patient information seeking. Findings will assist oncologists in tailoring the way they provide information to all patients, regardless of socio-demographic characteristics or the presence of companions. Findings will also provide the basis for further research examining the influence of companions in oncology interactions on patient outcomes (e.g., recall of information, informed decision-making and distress). The aims of this proposed research are: 1) To observe and analyze information seeking patterns of cancer patients in previously video recorded outpatient oncology interactions in an urban, comprehensive cancer center; and 2) To analyze the extent to which socio-demographic characteristics, companions in the interaction, and the quality of the relationship with the oncologist are related to patient information seeking. This proposed study investigates factors that may influence patient information seeking during outpatient oncology interactions, including socio-demographic characteristics, companions in the interaction, and the quality of the relationship with the oncologist. Researchers will refine and apply an observational analytical instrument to a data base of 160 video recorded patient/companion-oncologist interactions that were previously collected at an urban comprehensive cancer center. Findings will assist oncologists in tailoring the way they provide information to patients from diverse populations, thereby improving patients' access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their cancer care.
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