Oncology care provider training in empathic communication skills to reduce lung cancer stigma Journal Article


Authors: Banerjee, S. C.; Haque, N.; Schofield, E. A.; Williamson, T. J.; Martin, C. M.; Bylund, C. L.; Shen, M. J.; Rigney, M.; Hamann, H. A.; Parker, P. A.; McFarland, D. C.; Park, B. J.; Molena, D.; Moreno, A.; Ostroff, J. S.
Article Title: Oncology care provider training in empathic communication skills to reduce lung cancer stigma
Abstract: Background: Despite the clinical importance of assessing smoking history and advising patients who smoke to quit, patients with lung cancer often experience feelings of blame and stigma during clinical encounters with their oncology care providers (OCPs). Promoting empathic communication during these encounters may help reduce patients’ experience of stigma and improve related clinical outcomes. This paper presents the evaluation of OCP- and patient-reported data on the usefulness of an OCP-targeted empathic communication skills (ECS) training to reduce the stigma of lung cancer and improve communication. Research Question: What is the impact of the ECS intervention on OCPs’ communication skills uptake and patient-reported outcomes (lung cancer stigma, satisfaction with communication, and perceived OCP empathy)? Methods: Study subjects included 30 multidisciplinary OCPs treating patients with lung cancer who participated in a 2.25 h ECS training. Standardized Patient Assessments were conducted prior to and following training to assess ECS uptake among OCPs. In addition, of a planned 180 patients who currently or formerly smoked (six unique patients per OCP [three pretraining, three posttraining]), 175 patients (89 pretraining, 86 posttraining) completed post-OCP visit surveys eliciting feedback on the quality of their interaction with their OCP. Results: OCPs exhibited an overall increase in use of empathic communication skills [t(28) = –2.37; P < .05], stigma-mitigating skills [t(28) = –3.88; P < .001], and breadth of communication skill use [t(28) = –2.91; P < .01]. Patients reported significantly higher overall satisfaction with communication post-ECS training, compared with pretraining [t(121) = 2.15; P = .034; Cohen d = 0.35]. There were no significant differences from pretraining to posttraining for patient-reported stigma or perceived OCP empathy. Interpretation: Empathy-based, stigma-reducing communication may lead to improved assessments of tobacco use and smoking cessation for patients with smoking-related cancers. These findings support the dissemination and further testing of a new ECS model for training OCPs in best practices for assessment of smoking history and engagement of patients who currently smoke in tobacco treatment delivery. © 2020 American College of Chest Physicians
Keywords: lung cancer; smoking; oncology; communication skills training; stigma; empathic communication; satisfaction with communication; standardized patient assessment
Journal Title: Chest
Volume: 159
Issue: 5
ISSN: 0012-3692
Publisher: American College of Chest Physicians  
Date Published: 2021-05-01
Start Page: 2040
End Page: 2049
Language: English
DOI: 10.1016/j.chest.2020.11.024
PUBMED: 33338443
PROVIDER: scopus
DOI/URL:
Notes: Article -- Export Date: 1 June 2021 -- Source: Scopus
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MSK Authors
  1. Jamie S Ostroff
    257 Ostroff
  2. Bernard J Park
    194 Park
  3. Daniela   Molena
    130 Molena
  4. Patricia Ann Parker
    50 Parker
  5. Chloe Marie Martin
    6 Martin
  6. Noshin M Haque
    10 Haque
  7. Aimee Moreno
    1 Moreno