Throughout the course of treatment, patients with breast cancer receive a significant amounts of information from their healthcare team. Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine assessed and revamped the educational materials from the facility’s Memorial Radiation Oncology Department to achieve a patient comprehension of key treatment-related concepts of 75%. They found that although some educational concepts remained unmemorable or improperly emphasized, overall trends in comprehension indicated that a patient-tailored approach led to better satisfaction and outcomes, according to the findings presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on December 8, 2018.

The investigators developed a survey to evaluate patient satisfaction with and comprehension of the educational materials and test comprehension of concepts that impact treatment.

All patients with breast cancer at the facility received the survey during a three-month period. Using the results, researchers created a PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycle to implement improvements, which included:

  • Eliminating redundant resources
  • Re-emphasizing essential concepts throughout treatment
  • Consolidating important concepts from the materials into a more accessible one-page summary sheet.

They then adapted the survey and re-administered it to every patient with breast cancer over another three-month period.

Following the intervention, overall satisfaction improved from 97% to 100% (p = 1.0). However, some patients did not remember receiving an informational letter (27%) or physician handout (18%). On knowledge-based questions, the average percentage of correct questions improved from 52% prior to the intervention to 78% after the intervention (p ≤ 0.001). See Table 1 for specific outcomes.

“A patient-centered approach to developing and delivering patient education can lead to better satisfaction and patient comprehension, thereby improving compliance and encouraging patient engagement, which has a positive impact on outcomes,” the researchers concluded.