Improving Communication in Breast Cancer Treatment Consultation: Use of a Computer Test of Health Numeracy
Journal of women's health (2002)
breast neoplasm, cancer communication, health numeracy
Communication of statistics and probability is challenging in the cancer care setting. The objectives of this study are to evaluate a novel approach to cancer communication through the use of a computer assessment of patient health numeracy. We conducted a pilot study of the Computer Adapted Test of Numeracy Understanding in Medicine Instrument (CAT-NUMi) before the cancer treatment consultation for women with stage 0-3 breast cancer. Patient outcomes included the interpersonal processes of care (IPC) and the decisional conflict scale. We evaluated clinician use of numeric information in the cancer consultation and assessed feasibility outcomes from the clinician and patient perspective. Patient participants ( = 50) had a median (interquartile range) age of 51 years (46-61), 70% were English speaking, and 30% Spanish speaking. Decisional conflict was low with a mean (standard deviation [SD]) decisional conflict score of 17.4 (12.3). The lack of clarity score (range 1-5) on the IPC was low (mean, SD),1.70 (0.71), indicating clear communication. Clinicians more often used percentages in communicating prognosis among those with higher numeracy scores (median, range): high (2, 0-8), medium (1, 0-7), and low (0, 0-8); = 0.04. The patient experience of taking the CAT-NUMi was rated as very good or excellent by 65%, fair by 33%, and poor by 2% of patients. Screening for health numeracy with a short computer-based test may be a feasible strategy to optimize clear communication in the cancer treatment consultation. Further studies are needed to evaluate this strategy across cancer treatment clinical settings and populations.
Schapira, M. M., Fletcher, K. E., Ganschow, P. S., Jacobs, E. A., Walker, C. M., Smallwood, A. J., Gil, D., Faghri, A., Kong, A. L., Yen, T. W., McDunn, S., Marcus, E., & Neuner, J. M. (2019). Improving Communication in Breast Cancer Treatment Consultation: Use of a Computer Test of Health Numeracy. Journal of women's health (2002), 28 (10), 1407-1417. https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2018.7347