Customizing Patient-Physician Communication
Daniel Golden, MD, MHPE, and Ritu Arya, MD, at the University of Chicago are focused on improving communication between patients with cancer and their physicians by developing personalized discussion guides that explain external beam radiotherapy in an easy-to-digest format. Radiation oncology patient education materials are often written above the recommended seventh to eighth grade reading level, making the treatment process difficult to understand and can increase anxiety for many patients. To reduce barriers to understanding and facilitate conversations between providers and patients, Dr. Golden and Dr. Arya partnered with Tomoko Ichikawa, MS, Clinical Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design, to create the “Communicating the External Beam Radiotherapy Experience” (CEBRE) discussion guide. The CEBRE discussion guide uses graphic narrative to explain external beam radiotherapy and is written at a sixth grade reading level.
Patients, family members, doctors and other radiation clinic staff provided input on the design of the CEBRE discussion guide. To ensure that any provider can use the CEBRE discussion guide, it can be downloaded for free, customized for any clinic and printed on a standard color office printer. The prototype CEBRE discussion guide was intentionally designed to provide a general overview of the radiotherapy process, but patients face unique challenges depending upon the location of the cancer. To further personalize the patient experience, Dr. Golden, Dr. Arya and Professor Ichikawa are developing three additional discussion guides in the CEBRE series that will be customized for patients with lung cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
With the ROI Personalized Radiation Therapy award, the team is:
- Auditing the existing patient education material for the three disease sites and researching the latest theories of the graphic narrative medium.
- Interviewing patients, family members, physicians, nurses and radiation therapists to understand their needs and perspectives on the radiotherapy process for each of the three disease sites.
- Using a human-centered design process to construct a storyboard of the patient experience for each disease site.
- Developing and testing prototypes of the site-specific CEBRE discussion guides to refine and finalize them so they can be made available online to all clinics.
Download the general CEBRE discussion guide now and look for the three new disease site-specific guides in the future.