MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Emily Albright, MD
Missouri University Health Care
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Traditional medicine had a paternalistic approach but more recent changes have transitioned into shared decision making and a patient centered approach. However, current research has not addressed the mode of communicating bad news to patients.
This study was designed to look at trends in modes of communication of a breast cancer diagnosis. This study identified a trend for patients to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer over the telephone in more recent years. Also noted was that of those receiving the diagnosis in person 40% were alone.
MedicalResearch.com: Relaying bad news is one of the most time consuming and emotionally demanding part of a physician’s job. How can the process be improved for both the patient and to limit physician burnout?
Response: Relaying back news is a complicated process, especially with breast cancer. The news may come from a variety of sources from a radiologist the patient has never met to a primary care physician with a long term relationship. Improvements will need to take both the patient and the physician into consideration. Timeliness of providing answers to patients must be balanced with available physician resources.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The study results have identified a trend in mode of delivery. Future research should be directed at expectations of communication, assessment of satisfaction, and facilitation of patient care. Additional qualitative research on actual patient-physician encounters could also aid in the training of future physicians.
Support Care Cancer. 2018 Aug 7. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4383-y. [Epub ahead of print]
McElroy JA1, Proulx CM2, Johnson L3, Heiden-Rootes KM4, Albright EL5, Smith J6, Brown MT7.
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