Information Valued by Patients in Selecting a Hospital for Cancer Surgery

Key Points

  • 73% of patients reported being very or somewhat likely to use a list of best hospitals for cancer surgery in selecting a hospital.
  • The top factors reported by patients in selecting a hospital were hospital reputation, patient satisfaction, and number of cancer surgeries performed at the hospital.

In a study reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Yang et al found that most patients who had undergone surgery for cancer reported that hospital reputation would have been important to them in choosing a hospital for surgery and that they would have used a listing of best hospitals for surgery in making their choice. 

The study involved a cross-sectional national survey of 3,334 U.S. residents who had undergone cancer surgery. The outcomes were reported likelihood of using a list of best hospitals for cancer surgery and reported interest in information about specific outcomes, including hospital reputation, survival and mortality rates after surgery, and surgery complication rates.

Survey Results

Overall, 68% of patients reported being actively involved in selecting a hospital for surgery and 65% reported that their physician was involved in or made the decision. In response to specific questions regarding information that might have helped them choose a hospital, 55% identified hospital reputation; 44%, patient satisfaction; 36%, number of cancer surgeries performed at the hospital; 33%, reputation of hospital for any type of care; 29%, how common it is for patients to have complications from surgery; 14%, how common it is for patients to be alive 4 years after surgery; 14%, how quickly patients get surgery; and 8%, how common it is for patients to die as a result of surgery within 30 days.

Overall, approximately 40% of patients expressed interest in having information on at least 1 of the clinical outcomes among 4-year survival, 30-day mortality after surgery, and complications from surgery. In total, 73% of patients reported being very likely (41%) or somewhat likely (33%) to use a list of best hospitals for cancer surgery in selecting a hospital.

The investigators concluded, “Widespread interest exists among patients with cancer for comparative information on hospital quality as well as on clinical outcomes and hospitals’ reputation for cancer surgery. Policy reforms and additional research should address the unmet need for transparent, comprehensive data on the quality of hospitals’ cancer care.”

The study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Allison Lipitz-Snyderman, PhD, of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is the corresponding author for the Journal of Oncology Practice article.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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