To understand oncologists’ attitudes toward patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures and to learn how PRO data influence their clinical decision-making.
Twenty practicing oncologists participated in 1 of 4 semi-structured focus groups.
Most oncologists had no experience with PRO measures, but were able to identify several concepts appropriate for patient-reported assessment. Participants agreed that clinical measures such as performance status were more meaningful to them, but acknowledged that PRO measures were more appropriate for assessing patient symptoms and treatment response. All oncologists believed that clinical efficacy and toxicity data were of primary importance, but that PROs become increasingly important when multiple treatments are available, in advanced or incurable disease, and in palliative care. Several issues prevented oncologists from being able to draw meaningful conclusions from PRO data: lack of familiarity with PRO measures, being presented with too much data to process, lack of clarity around a meaningful change in PRO measure scores, and lack of standardization in the use of PRO measures.
Oncologists indicated that PRO data are most influential in advanced or incurable disease and in palliative care. Improving the interpretability of PRO measures could increase the usefulness of PRO data in treatment decision-making.