JUICE Pharma Worldwide was in Chicago to report on the proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 Annual Meeting. Medical Director Florian Brey, MD and JUICE team share the latest developments and research advances in cancer treatment.
Medical Writer Sarah Hudnall explores the daily burdens of oncologists: From the impact of EHR, and changing quality metrics, to difficult conversations about end-of-life care:
“A couple of recent sessions at ASCO really illustrate the breadth of burdens that are shouldered by oncologists. The first session was around dealing with administrative burdens, such as EMR, EHR, change in quality metrics and prior authorization. So for any change, that represents another checkbox that the oncologist has to check off. Individually, they don’t seem like very much, but collectively, it was described to us as “being pecked to death by a thousand chickens.” It represents hours of work lost every week. It can cause physician burnout. It can even cause a decrease in quality in patient care.
And the second session was around having conversations with patients about end-of-life care and stopping chemotherapy. Studies show that patients really want honesty in these conversations; they don’t want to be given false hope. And in fact, not having these conversations with patients has shown to lead to much more aggressive end-of-life measures.
So a couple of different recommendations were made by the panelists. One was, of course, having those conversations earlier. Two was to focus those initial conversations around the goals of patient care. Once you’ve established what your patient desires for their care, then you can begin talking about interventions. And every intervention is then measured against “Is this helping my patient achieve his or her goal.”
And finally, to look for moments of empathy. Looking for moments of empathy where your patients are really beginning to show emotion and need you as a physician to show that you’re with them can make a huge difference in their care.”