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Patient and Clinician Perspectives on Shared Decision-making in Early Adopting Lung Cancer Screening Programs: a Qualitative Study.

Wiener RS, Koppelman E, Bolton R, Lasser KE, Borrelli B, Au DH, Slatore CG, Clark JA, Kathuria H. Patient and Clinician Perspectives on Shared Decision-making in Early Adopting Lung Cancer Screening Programs: a Qualitative Study. Journal of general internal medicine. 2018 Jul 1; 33(7):1035-1042.

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BACKGROUND: Guidelines recommend, and Medicare requires, shared decision-making between patients and clinicians before referring individuals at high risk of lung cancer for chest CT screening. However, little is known about the extent to which shared decision-making about lung cancer screening is achieved in real-world settings. OBJECTIVE: To characterize patient and clinician impressions of early experiences with communication and decision-making about lung cancer screening and perceived barriers to achieving shared decision-making. DESIGN: Qualitative study entailing semi-structured interviews and focus groups. PARTICIPANTS: We enrolled 36 clinicians who refer patients for lung cancer screening and 49 patients who had undergone lung cancer screening in the prior year. Participants were recruited from lung cancer screening programs at four hospitals (three Veterans Health Administration, one urban safety net). APPROACH: Using content analysis, we analyzed transcripts to characterize communication and decision-making about lung cancer screening. Our analysis focused on the recommended components of shared decision-making (information sharing, deliberation, and decision aid use) and barriers to achieving shared decision-making. KEY RESULTS: Clinicians varied in the information shared with patients, and did not consistently incorporate decision aids. Clinicians believed they explained the rationale and gave some (often purposely limited) information about the trade-offs of lung cancer screening. By contrast, some patients reported receiving little information about screening or its trade-offs and did not realize the CT was intended as a screening test for lung cancer. Clinicians and patients alike did not perceive that significant deliberation typically occurred. Clinicians perceived insufficient time, competing priorities, difficulty accessing decision aids, limited patient comprehension, and anticipated patient emotions as barriers to realizing shared decision-making. CONCLUSIONS: Due to multiple perceived barriers, patient-clinician conversations about lung cancer screening may fall short of guideline-recommended shared decision-making supported by a decision aid. Consequently, patients may be left uncertain about lung cancer screening's rationale, trade-offs, and process.

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