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J Clin Oncol. 2004 Feb 15;22(4):714-24.

Measuring quality of life in routine oncology practice improves communication and patient well-being: a randomized controlled trial.

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Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre-Leeds, Cancer Medicine Research Unit, St James's University Hospital, Beckett St, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK.



To examine the effects on process of care and patient well-being, of the regular collection and use of health-related quality-of-life (HRQL) data in oncology practice.


In a prospective study with repeated measures involving 28 oncologists, 286 cancer patients were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (regular completion of European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer-Core Quality of Life Questionnaire version 3.0, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale on touch-screen computers in clinic and feedback of results to physicians); attention-control group (completion of questionnaires, but no feedback); or control group (no HRQL measurement in clinic before encounters). Primary outcomes were patient HRQL over time, measured by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General questionnaire, physician-patient communication, and clinical management, measured by content analysis of tape-recorded encounters. Analysis employed mixed-effects modeling and multiple regression.


Patients in the intervention and attention-control groups had better HRQL than the control group (P =.006 and P =.01, respectively), but the intervention and attention-control groups were not significantly different (P =.80). A positive effect on emotional well-being was associated with feedback of data (P =.008), but not with instrument completion (P =.12). A larger proportion of intervention patients showed clinically meaningful improvement in HRQL. More frequent discussion of chronic nonspecific symptoms (P =.03) was found in the intervention group, without prolonging encounters. There was no detectable effect on patient management (P =.60). In the intervention patients, HRQL improvement was associated with explicit use of HRQL data (P =.016), discussion of pain, and role function (P =.046).


Routine assessment of cancer patients' HRQL had an impact on physician-patient communication and resulted in benefits for some patients, who had better HRQL and emotional functioning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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