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Follow-up care delivery among colorectal cancer survivors most often seen by primary and subspecialty care physicians.

Haggstrom DA, Arora NK, Helft P, Clayman ML, Oakley-Girvan I. Follow-up care delivery among colorectal cancer survivors most often seen by primary and subspecialty care physicians. Journal of general internal medicine. 2009 Nov 1; 24 Suppl 2:S472-9.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The Institute of Medicine has identified patients as a key source of information for assessing the quality of care. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association of physician specialty with the content and quality of follow-up cancer care. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred three colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors in Northern California were surveyed 2-5 years post-diagnosis. MEASUREMENTS: Specialty of physician seen most often [primary care physician (PCP), oncologist, surgeon, or gastroenterologist]; other physician specialties seen; patient characteristics; content of visits; patient-centered quality of follow-up care (communication, coordination, nursing, and staff interactions). MAIN RESULTS: A minority (16%) of CRC survivors reported that the doctor they most often saw for follow-up cancer care was a PCP, while 60% saw an oncologist. Many CRC survivors (40%) saw > 1 physician for follow-up cancer care. Survivors most often seen by PCPs were more likely to have three or more medical comorbidities (70% vs. 51%, p = 0.012) than survivors seen by subspecialty physicians. Survivors seen by PCPs were less likely to report seeing a doctor for medical tests and more likely to report discussing disease prevention (82% vs. 64%, p = 0.012) or diet (70% vs. 48%, p = 0.005) with their doctor. There were no significant specialty differences in patient-centered quality of follow-up cancer care. CONCLUSIONS: Cancer survivors'' assessment of the quality of care was similar across specialties, while the content of follow-up cancer care varied by physician specialty. These findings provide important information about the potential value of primary care and the need for coordination when delivering care to CRC survivors.





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