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Patient and Clinician Recommendations to Improve Communication and Understanding of Lung Cancer Screening Results.

Crothers K, Shahrir S, Kross EK, Kava CM, Cole A, Wenger D, Triplette M. Patient and Clinician Recommendations to Improve Communication and Understanding of Lung Cancer Screening Results. Chest. 2023 Mar 1; 163(3):707-718.

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BACKGROUND: Patient understanding of chest low-dose CT (LDCT) scan results for lung cancer screening (LCS) may impact outcomes. RESEARCH QUESTION: What are patient- and clinician-identified gaps in understanding and communication of LCS results and how might communication be improved through a patient-oriented tool? STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We performed a mixed-methods study of participants recruited from a multisite LCS program to understand knowledge gaps after receiving LCS results and to guide development of a commonly asked questions (CAQ) after LCS information sheet. Initial patient surveys assessed understanding and reactions to LCS results (n  = 190). We then conducted patient interviews and focus group discussions (n  = 31) to understand experiences receiving LDCT scan results and reactions to results letters and the proposed CAQ; we also interviewed clinicians (n  = 6) for feedback on these resources. We summarized survey responses and used thematic analysis to identify major themes in focus groups and interviews. RESULTS: Of 190 survey respondents (43% response rate), although 88% agreed that they "understood" their LCS results, only 55% reported understanding what a lung nodule is. Approximately two-thirds thought it was "very important" to receive more information regarding lung nodules and incidental lung and heart disease. In interviews and focus groups, although patients believed that brief results letters for normal LDCT scan results generally were acceptable, most found letters explaining abnormal LDCT scan and incidental findings to be concerning and not a substitute for discussion with their clinician. Nearly all patients expressed that the CAQ sheet provided helpful information on nodules, results reporting and incidental findings, and helped them form questions to ask their clinicians. INTERPRETATION: We identified patient-reported information needs regarding LCS results and developed a CAQ information sheet that was refined with patient and clinician input. The CAQ may represent a simple and feasible way to improve LCS results reporting and to augment clinician-patient discussions.

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