Customizing Patient-Physician Communication
Daniel Golden, MD, MHPE, at the University of Chicago is 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 Ritu Arya, MD, partnered with Tomoko Ichikawa, MS, Associate Teaching 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 free of charge, 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 and Professor Ichikawa have developed six additional discussion guides in the CEBRE series that are customized for radiotherapy for breast, central nervous system, digestive system, head and neck, lung, and prostate cancers.
With the ROI Personalized Radiation Therapy award, the team:
- Audited the existing patient education material for the specific disease sites and researched the latest theories of the graphic narrative medium.
- Interviewed patients, family members, physicians, nurses and radiation therapists to understand their needs and perspectives on the radiotherapy process for each of the specific disease sites.
- Used a human-centered design process to construct a storyboard of the patient experience for each disease site.
- Developed and tested prototypes of the site-specific CEBRE discussion guides to refine and finalize them so they can be made available online to all clinics.
A preview of each of the personalized guides is included through the links below, and they can be downloaded free of charge for clinical use along with the general radiotherapy process guide through the CEBRE website.
The breast, lung and prostate discussion guides are also available in Spanish. Download the series from the CEBRE en Español website.