Factors influencing the translation of shared cancer follow-up care into clinical practice: a systematic review

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BMJ Open


Background The increasing incidence of cancer, coupled with improved survivorship, has increased demand for cancer follow-up care and the need to find alternative models of care. Shared cancer follow-up care in general practice is a safe option in terms of quality of life and cancer recurrence; however, there are barriers to translating this into practice. This review aimed to identify factors that influence the translation of shared cancer follow-up care into clinical practice. Methods Systematic review. Seven electronic databases: MEDLINE, Science Citation Index, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, APA Psychinfo, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition and Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection, were searched for published papers between January 1999 and December 2021. The narrative review included papers if they were available in full-text, English, peer-reviewed and focused on shared cancer follow-up care. Results Thirty-eight papers were included in the final review. Five main themes emerged: (1) reciprocal clinical information sharing is needed between oncologists and general practitioners, and needs to be timely and relevant; (2) responsibility of care should be shared with the oncologist overseeing care; (3) general practitioners skills and knowledge to provide cancer follow-up care; (4) need for clinical management guidelines and rapid referral to support general practitioners to provide shared follow-up care and (5) continuity of care and satisfaction of care is vital for shared care. Conclusion The acceptability of shared cancer follow-up care is increasing. Several barriers still exist to translating this into practice. Work is required to develop a shared-care model that can support general practitioners, while the oncologist can oversee the care and implement two-way communication between general and oncologists' clinics. The move towards integrating electronic healthcare records and web-based platforms for information exchange provides a promise to the timely exchange of information. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020191538.

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