This study examined the effectiveness of giving medical oncologists immediate feedback about cancer patients' self-reported psychosocial well-being in reducing those patients' levels of anxiety, depression, perceived needs and physical symptoms. Cancer patients attending one cancer centre for their first visit were allocated to intervention (n = 42) or control (n = 38) groups. All patients completed a computerized survey assessing their psychosocial well-being while waiting to see the oncologist. Intervention patients' responses were immediately scored and summary reports were placed in each patient's file for follow-up. A total of 48 participants (25 intervention and 23 control) completed the survey four times. Intervention patients who reported a debilitating physical symptom at visit 2 were significantly less likely to report a debilitating physical symptom at visit 3 compared with control patients (OR = 2.8, P = 0.04). Reductions in levels of anxiety, depression and perceived needs among intervention patients were not significantly different to control patients. Repeated collection and immediate feedback of patient-reported health information to oncologists has potential to improve patients' symptom control, but has little impact upon emotional well-being, including those at high risk. Future research should consider providing the feedback to other health professionals and patients, and monitor the impact on the process of individual patient care.
European Journal of Cancer Care Vol. 15, Issue 2, p. 163-171