How Well Do Documented Goals-of-care Discussions for Patients With Stage IV Cancer Reflect Communication Best Practices? [post]

Natalie C. Ernecoff, Kathryn L. Wessell, William A. Wood, Gary S. Winzelberg, Frances A. Collichio, Laura C. Hanson
2020 unpublished
Background: Written clinical communication regarding patients' disease understanding and values may facilitate goal-concordant care, yet little is known about electronic health record (EHR) goals-of-care documentation. We sought to (1) describe frequency of communication best practices in EHR-documented goals-of-care discussions, and (2) assess whether templated notes improve quality of documentation.Methods: We abstracted all EHR-documented goals-of-care discussions for hospitalized patients
more » ... th Stage IV cancer from admission to 60-days follow-up. Goals-of-care documentation was operationalized to include discussion of: (1) prognosis or illness understanding; and (2) goals or treatment options. Investigators qualitatively coded text based on conceptual frameworks for communication best practices, and noted if a health system template was used. Results: Among 206 of 492 (42%) patients with documented goals-of-care discussions, clinicians frequently communicated cancer progression or incurability (89%), but rarely addressed prognosis for life expectancy (22%). Goals and values were documented for 83%, and a treatment decision for 82% of patients. Treatment preferences were assessed for 98% of patients; options discussed included cancer treatment (62%), hospice (62%), resuscitation (51%), or intensive care (38%). Clinicians made a treatment recommendation for 40% of patients. Attention to emotional and spiritual concerns was uncommon (15%). Use of a template increased documentation of patient goals and values (80% vs. 61%, p<0.01), but did not enhance other communication best practices.Conclusion: Insights from the study can be used to guide future training and research to study and improve the quality of written communication about goal of care, and its impact on goal-concordant care.
doi:10.21203/ fatcat:u36nl44f3ra3jgkhx5hxxk6auq