The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is charged with providing high-quality health care, not only in terms of technical competence but also with regard to patient-centered care experiences. Patient-centered coordination of care and communication are especially important in cancer care, as deficiencies in these areas have been implicated in many cases of delayed cancer diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, because cancer care facilities are concentrated within the VHA system, geographical and system-level barriers may present prominent obstacles to quality care. Systematic assessment of patient-centered communication (PCC) may help identify both individual veterans who are at risk of suboptimal care and opportunities for quality improvement initiatives at the service, facility, or system-wide level. In this manuscript, we describe our vision to implement an assessment of PCC through patient self-report to improve the quality of cancer care and other health services in the VHA. We outline a possible strategy to assess PCC that leverages the VHA’s existing initiative to promote use of an online personal health record for veterans (MyHealtheVet). Questionnaires administered periodically or following specific episodes of care can be targeted to assess PCC in cancer care. Assessment of PCC can also be tied to clinical and administrative data for more robust analysis of patient outcomes. Ultimately, the goal of any assessment of PCC is to gather valid, actionable data that can assist VHA clinicians and staff with providing the best possible care for veterans with cancer.
Singh, Hardeep; Arora, Neeraj K.; Mazor, Kathleen M.; and Street, Richard L. Jr
"A vision for using online portals for surveillance of patient-centered communication in cancer care,"
Patient Experience Journal: Vol. 2
, Article 16.