Association of actual and preferred decision roles with patient-reported quality of care: Shared decision making in cancer care

Kenneth L. Kehl, Mary Beth Landrum, Neeraj K. Arora, Patricia A. Ganz, Michelle Van Ryn, Jennifer W. Mack, Nancy L. Keating

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: Shared decision making is associated with improved patient-reported outcomes of cancer treatment, but not all patients prefer to participate in medical decisions. Results from studies of the effect of matching between actual and preferred medical decision roles on patients' perceptions of care quality have been conflicting. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether shared decision making was associated with patient ratings of care quality and physician communication and whether patients' preferred decision roles modified those associations. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We performed a population- and health system-based survey of participants in the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance Consortium (CanCORS) study diagnosed with lung and/or colorectal cancer between 2003 and 2005 (56% with colorectal cancer, 40% with non-small-cell lung cancer, and 5% with small-cell lung cancer). The CanCORS study included 9737 patients (cooperation rate among patients contacted, 59.9%) treated in integrated care delivery systems, academic institutions, private offices, and Veterans Affairs hospitals. The medical records were abstracted between October 11, 2005, and April 30, 2009; all analyses were conducted between 2013 and 2014. INTERVENTIONS: We surveyed patients specifically about their preferred roles in cancer treatment decisions and their actual roles in decisions about surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. We analyzed the responses of 5315 patients who completed baseline surveys and reported decision roles for a total of 10 817 treatment decisions and assessed associations of patients' decision roles with patient-reported quality of care and physician communication. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The outcomes (identified before data collection) included patient-reported excellent quality of care and top ratings (highest score) on a physician communication scale. RESULTS: After adjustment, patients describing physician-controlled (vs shared) decisions were less likely to report excellent quality of care (odds ratio [OR], 0.64; 95% CI, 0.54-0.75; P < .001). Patients' preferred decision roles did not modify this effect (P = .29 for the interaction). Patients describing either actual or preferred physician-controlled (vs shared) roles were less likely to provide a top rating of physician communication (OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.45-0.66; P < .001, and OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.51-0.87; P = .002, respectively). The preferred role did not modify the effect of the actual role (P = .76 for interaction). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Physician-controlled decisions regarding lung or colorectal cancer treatment were associated with lower ratings of care quality and physician communication. These effects were independent of patients' preferred decision roles, underscoring the importance of seeking to involve all patients in decision making about their treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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