Lung Cancer Screening Survey Shows Improved Patient Experience

By Pat Carragher - April 12, 2021

In 2014, Moffitt Cancer Center launched a lung cancer screening program following recommendations by the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid services for annual low-dose CT screening for high-risk individuals. While the program proved to be valuable resource, patient satisfaction was not an overnight success.

In August of last year, surveys were mailed out to 576 patients who had completed at least one lung cancer screen at Moffitt. The survey looked at demographics, risk factors and patient satisfaction and experiences with the lung cancer screening program across six areas, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on screening experience.

“When our research coordinator started recruiting patients for the lung cancer screening programs, we saw that some of the patients were not satisfied with their screening experience and they were confused about their results,” said Dr. Jaileene Pérez-Morales, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cancer Epidemiology at Moffitt. “That's when our laboratory decided to do this type of survey to understand from the patient perspective what is going on in the lung cancer screening program, why are they happy and why are they not happy.”

Responses were measured on a scale from one to five. Six open-ended questions regarding barriers, experience with other screenings, positive and negative experiences and suggestions for improving the process of screening visits were also included. One hundred and sixty patients completed the survey.

“We found that more than 90% of patients agreed that making an appointment was easy and were made within a reasonable amount of time and that the check-in process was efficient,” said Dr. Monica Reyes, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cancer Epidemiology. “In regard to screening results and cost, about 91% agreed that results were available in a timely manner.”

Other results included:

  • Patient Experience with Staff
    • 90% said appointment scheduler and staff were courteous
  • Pandemic Impact
    • 93% said they did not experience COVID-related financial constraints
    • 8% said it was a barrier to getting screened
    • 10% were concerned about getting screening
  • Communication
    • 91% said staff was easy to communicate with
    • 71% agreed provided was willing to listen and answer questions
  • Overall Satisfaction
    • 92% were satisfied with overall comfort and practice at Moffitt Cancer Center
    • 89% were satisfied with the quality of their care

Of the 160 patients that responded to the survey, 77 provided responses to one or more open-ended questions.

“The medical staff and administrative staff consistently deliver the highest level of care and attention to me and other family members at Moffitt’s facilities,” one person replied.

“All went well as advertised,” said another respondent. “Appointment was met by hospital staff in timely manner, and all were efficient at their jobs.”

Suggestions for improvement centered on better scheduling systems and appointment reminders as well as the ability to speak to a clinician to better understand results and future eligibility. Ongoing patient-centered feedback hopes to improve the lung cancer screening experience and increase follow-up screening rates.

“Sometimes providers are focused on treating the patients, but we don't know what they're feeling or what they're experiencing at screening programs,” said Pérez-Morales. “This type of study helps us identify where we can improve, or if there's nothing to improve, we know what we can continue to do well.”

“This survey study on lung cancer screening is important for understanding how our program is successful and to identify limitations that may have contributed to patient experiences and satisfaction,” said Reyes. “We can conclude that most patients are satisfied with the program, but it also highlights potential areas to focus on to continue to support or improve patient satisfaction and experiences with lung cancer screening.”

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