Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop prioritised indicators to measure cancer patient experience and thus guide quality improvement in the delivery of patient care.
Methods: A Delphi study, consisting of two surveys and three workshops, was employed to gather expert opinions on the most important indicators to measure. Survey participants were 149 health professionals, academics/technical experts and consumers. The first survey was based on a literature review which identified 105 elements of care within 14 domains of patient experience. These were rated on a 7-point Likert scale, with ‘1’ representing high importance. Elements with mean ratings between 1.0 and 2.0 were retained for the second survey. The 43 least-important elements were omitted, four elements were revised and nine new elements added. Consensus was defined as at least 70% of participants rating an element ‘1’ or ‘2’. Multivariate and cluster analyses were used to develop 20 draft indicators, which were presented to 51 experts to refine and prioritise at the three workshops.
Results: All elements in the second survey were rated ‘1’ or ‘2’ by 81% of participants. Workshop participants agreed strongly on the four most important indicators: coordinated care, access to care, timeliness of the first treatment, and communication. Other indicators considered highly important were follow-up care for survivors; timeliness of diagnosis; information relating to side effects, pain and medication; comprehensibility of information provided to patients; and needs assessment.
Conclusions: Experts identified priorities with a high level of consensus, providing a rigorous foundation for developing prioritised indicators of quality in cancer patient experience.