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Improving Oncology Care Through the Patient Experience

January 21, 2022

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, a new oncology care model is helping practices improve the patient experience and provide better cancer care. It includes all the latest medical technology, but there’s also an emphasis on improving the relationship between the patient and caregiver

The Research

A 2016 study published in PubMed looked at the relationship between cancer patients and their doctors. Researchers found that having an attentive doctor positively affects the patient’s perspective and helps them cope with their illness.

A 2017 study published in an oncology journal showed a relationship between kindness and positive outcomes in cancer patients. It recommended four components: deep listening, empathy, generous acts, and timely care.

A 2018 study at MD Anderson Cancer found that terminal cancer patients reported greater patient satisfaction when physicians didn’t use a computer during a clinic visit.

Other studies in oncology and other fields show that empathy plays a vital role in recovery.

Compassionate Care Alters the Patient Experience

Medical technology has improved so much in recent years that it’s easy to credit fancy equipment and complicated tests with saving patients’ lives. While the new technology is critical, another essential aspect sometimes gets overlooked. That’s the relationship between the care team and the sick person.

In all kinds of illnesses, patients fare better when they feel heard and supported by their caregivers:

  • Patients are more likely to take their medications.
  • They heal faster and have fewer complications.
  • They need fewer unnecessary procedures.
  • They experience less anxiety and depression.
  • They are more likely to be satisfied with their medical treatment.

Patient Satisfaction Improves With New Oncology Care Model

A cancer diagnosis is scary, and it’s hard to think clearly when you’re overwhelmed and anxious. That’s why it’s so important to have an oncology care team you trust and respect. You deserve a say in your treatment, and there’s a move toward more compassionate care.

Your oncology care begins with a comprehensive discussion about your treatment in our clinics. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of different therapies, including any side effects or negative impacts on your well-being. Then, we’ll set up a written treatment plan.

Emotional Support Enhances the Patient Experience

Special assistance may be needed at home to improve the quality of life during treatment. These services include help with self-care, supplies, home help, emotional well-being, and bilingual language support for non-English speakers. It’s essential to eat a balanced diet, especially during cancer treatment. Resources are available to help you with nutrition and exercise.

Cancer changes a person’s life. It also affects the lives of friends and family. If someone is anxious or depressed, suggest going to a support group or talking to a therapist. Having in-depth conversations with loved ones and caregivers about your values and wishes is a good idea.

The Meaning of Empathy in Medicine

Empathy is the ability to pick up and understand another person’s feelings. It’s not the same as sympathy, which expresses concern but not understanding. It takes place between two people and requires being attentive and picking up emotional cues.

The good news is that doctors can learn to show empathy. Oncologists who use a compassion-based model are more likely to practice skills that gain their patients’ trust and respect. This helps to prevent burnout among medical workers and increases patient satisfaction.

At Nashville Oncology, we’re here to support you during your cancer journey. We treat a wide range of conditions and offer comprehensive cancer services that meet the individual needs of our patients and their families. Contact us to learn more about our personalized treatment plans.