Physician perspective on incorporation of oncology patient quality-of-life, fatigue, and pain assessment into clinical practice

Joleen M. Hubbard, Axel F. Grothey, Robert R. McWilliams, Jan C. Buckner, Jeff A. Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) such as pain, fatigue, and quality of life (QOL) are important for morbidity and mortality in patients with cancer. Systematic approaches to collect and incorporate PROs into clinical practice are still evolving. We set out to determine the impact of PRO assessment on routine clinical practice. Methods: Beginning in July 2010, the symptom assessment questionnaire (SAQ) was administered to every patient in a solid tumor oncology practice at an academic center. The SAQ measures pain, fatigue, and QOL, each on a scale of 0 to 10 points. Results were available to providers before each visit in the electronic medical record. Eighteen months after the SAQ was implemented, an online survey was sent to 83 oncology care providers regarding the use of the SAQ and how it affected their clinical practice, including discussion with patients, duration of visits, and work burden. Results: A total of 53% of care providers completed the online survey, producing 44 evaluable surveys. Of these, 86% of care providers reported using information from the SAQ; > 90% of care providers indicated the SAQ did not change the length of clinic visits or contribute to increased work burden. A majority of care providers felt that the SAQ had helped or enhanced their practice. Providers endorsed the SAQ for facilitating communication with their patients. Conclusion: This study indicates that simple single-item measures of pain, fatigue, and QOL can be incorporated into oncology clinical practice with positive implications for both patients and physicians without increasing duration of visits or work burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-253
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy


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