If you have prostate cancer, how satisfied are you with the clinical services you received during the diagnosis and treatment process? According to a study by Gupta et al. published in the journal Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, the more satisified you are, the greater your chances of survival.[i]
Patients’ self-perceptions, attitudes and outlook affect how they cope with having cancer and all the medical services they must deal with. Personal attributes (optimism, hope, faith in oneself and one’s doctor, empowerment, etc.) contribute to a positive mindset. Also, the quality of service they receive reinforces not only their mindset but also how well they cooperate and respond to treatment.
Patient-reported outcomes are a valuable source of information for doctors, nurses, technicians and the institutions where they work. In the Gupta study, patient satisfaction is seen not only as an indicator of how the medical staff is doing, but also which patients are more likely to survive their cancer. The authors describe patient satisfaction as “important information about the extent to which a patient’s needs and expectations are being met.” If patients are disappointed, they don’t fully participate with their care. As their mood shifts toward negativity, they seem to respond less well to treatment. On the other hand, patients who enter the cancer journey believing they are in otherwise excellent help appear to be the same patients who maintain their optimism. This correlates strongly with overall survival.
Gupta’s team devised a questionnaire to solicit patient responses. Of the 1200+ cancer patients to whom they distributed the questionnaire, 917 (72%) responded. Questions addressed a variety of aspects of the patients’ experience with their treatment team: “team giving you the information you need to understand your medical condition”, “team explaining your treatment options”, “team involving you in decision making as much as you preferred”, “teams communicating with each other concerning your medical condition and treatment”, “team treating you with respect and in a professional manner”, and “waiting time for appointments”.
Indeed, those patients with top-level satisfaction were those who did best with their treatment, possibly due to “improved general health, more positive emotions, or a combination of these.” At the Sperling Prostate Center, all of us continually strive to provide excellence in service. We care about each and every patient, and from patient feedback we have heard time again that that message comes through. At the same time, we recognize that there’s always room for improvement, so if something is not going well for a patient we want to know. Your health is our chief concern in order for you to achieve the best possible results, and help you live a long and healthy life.
[i] Gupta D, Patel K, Lis CG. Self-rated health supersedes patient satisfaction with service quality as a predictor of survival in prostate cancer. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2015 Sep 4;13:137. Full article at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4560081/