I am a Senior Lecturer in Cancer Care and Health Statistics the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey and oversee HSstats our statistical advice service for Health Science students and staff.
I have worked in Health Sciences research since 2003. Previously I worked as a Research Fellow for the EU funded eSMART project, an RCT using smartphone-based remote-monitoring to monitor chemotherapy-related toxicities for people with cancer across five European countries. I have worked in the independent research sector as a Senior Researcher at the National Centre for Social Research (2006-2011) and as a Research Associate at King's College London (2003-2006; 2011-2017).
My research interests include survey methodologies and questionnaire design, the evaluation of complex interventions (quasi-experimental designs, feasibility studies, RCTs) and the use of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) and patient reported experience measures (PREMs). I am particularly interested in the use of predictive risk models in psychosocial and behavioural research and interventions aimed at supporting people live with and beyond cancer.
Postgraduate research supervision
Dr Harris interested in supervising postgraduate researchers (PGRs) on the following subjects:
- Health scale measurement, patient-reported outcomes and questionnaire design
- Statistical methods and predictive risk modelling
- Feasibility studies and statistical evaluations of complex interventions and digital innovations
- Supportive cancer care and psychosocial oncology
Yvonne Smyth: An international study exploring the pedagogical impact of a 3D mobile application and Virtual Reality program on healthcare student learning and preparation for practice
Faith Howard: Developing Patient Reported Outcome Measures to assist services to meet the priorities of older people with severe frailty; using mixed methods - The PRO-Frail study (Doctoral College Studentship Award)
Zhuming Bao: Adaptation and Pilot Testing of the Registered Nursing Forecasting (RN4CAST) Nurse Survey for Use in the Ambulatory Chemotherapy Setting (Doctoral College Studentship Award)
Alex Pritchard: Improving supportive care during immunotherapy: co-design of a patient reported outcome measure to assess adverse events in people with renal and melanoma cancers (Doctoral College Studentship Award)
Jo Griggs: Data-driven approaches to practice innovation in air ambulance
BackgroundLow levels of cancer awareness may contribute to delays in seeking medical help and subsequent delays in diagnosis. For blood cancer this may be a particularly prominent problem due to the high prevalence of undifferentiated symptoms such as bodily pain, weakness, nausea and weight loss, resulting in low symptom awareness. The delay is exacerbated by the dismissal of similar symptoms which are often interpreted as mild disease, resulting in multiple consultations prior to diagnosis. This study describes the development of a Cancer Awareness Measure for Blood Cancer (Blood CAM) and presents results from a population-representative survey using the measure.MethodsA rapid systematic review identified constructs relevant to blood cancer. Items were taken from previous awareness measures and other literature and reviewed by expert groups including health care professionals and patients. Cognitive interviews were conducted with ten members of the public to check comprehension and clarity. A total sample of 434 participants completed the survey at Time 1 and n = 302 at Time 2 (two weeks later).ResultsInternal reliability was high across the different constructs included in the questionnaire (> 0.70) and test-retest reliability was moderate to good (0.49-0.79). The most commonly recognised blood cancer symptoms were unexplained weight loss (68.9%) and unexplained bleeding (64.9%) and the least commonly recognised symptoms were night sweats (31.3%) breathlessness and rash/itchy skin (both 44%). In terms of symptom experience, fatigue was the most commonly reported symptom (26.7%) followed by night sweats (25.4%). Exploratory factor analysis of barriers to presenting at primary care revealed three distinct categories of barriers; emotional, external/practical and service/healthcare professional related. Service and emotional barriers were most common.ConclusionsWe developed a valid and reliable tool to assess blood cancer awareness and showed variable awareness of blood cancer symptoms which can help target public health campaigns. We also incorporated additional measures (e.g. confidence to re-consult, ability to understand symptoms) that could be used to tailor public messaging for blood cancer and for other harder to suspect and diagnose cancers.
Objectives: Global, Covid-driven restrictions around face-to-face interviews for healthcare student selection have forced admissions staff to rapidly adopt adapted online systems before supporting evidence is available. We have developed, what we believe is, the first automated interview grounded in Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) methodology. This study aimed to explore test re-test reliability, acceptability, and usability of the system. Design, setting and participants: Multi-method feasibility study in Physician Associate (PA) programmes from two UK and one US university during 2019 - 2020. Primary, secondary outcomes: Feasibility measures (test-retest reliability acceptability and usability) were assessed using intra-class correlation (ICC), descriptive statistics, thematic and content analysis. Methods: Volunteers took (T1), then repeated (T2), the automated MMI, with a seven-day interval (+/- 2) then completed an evaluation questionnaire. Admissions staff participated in focus group discussions. Results: Sixty-two students and seven admission staff participated; 34 students and four staff from UK and 28 students and three staff from US universities. Good-excellent test-retest reliability was observed with T1 and T2 ICC between 0.62-0.81 (p
Introduction While some evidence exists that real-time remote symptom monitoring devices can decrease morbidity and prevent unplanned admissions in oncology patients, overall, these studies have significant methodological weaknesses. The eSMART study (electronic Symptom Management using the Advanced Symptom Management System (ASyMS) Remote Technology) is designed to specifically address these weaknesses with an appropriately powered, repeated-measures, parallel-group stratified randomised, controlled trial (RCT) of oncology patients. Methods and analysis A total of 1,108 patients scheduled to commence first-line chemotherapy (CTX) for breast, colorectal, or haematological cancer will be recruited from multiple sites across 5 European countries. Patients will be randomised (1:1) to the ASyMS intervention (intervention group) or to standard care currently available at each site (control group). Patients in the control and intervention groups will complete a demographic and clinical questionnaire, as well as a set of valid and reliable electronic patient reported outcome measures (ePROMS) at enrolment, after each of their CTX cycles (up to a maximum of 6 cycles) and at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after completion of their sixth cycle of CTX. Outcomes that will be assessed include: symptom burden (primary outcome), quality of life (QoL), supportive care needs, anxiety, self-care self-efficacy, work limitations, and cost effectiveness and, from a health professional perspective, changes in clinical practice (secondary outcomes). Ethics and dissemination eSMART received approval from the relevant ethics committees at all of the clinical sites across the 5 participating countries. In collaboration with the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), the trial results will be disseminated through publications in scientific journals, presentations at international conferences, and postings on the eSMART website and other relevant clinician and consumer websites.
APMS 2007 included a structured clinical assessment of mental health that allowed for the reliable diagnosis of common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. The questionnaire also covered aspects of housing conditions and financial strain related to domestic fuel use, including presence of mould, cutting back on fuel usage, lack of central heating and double-glazing, being cold at home, and fuel-related problem debt or utility disconnection. This report presents the prevalence of different aspects of poor housing in the English population and identifies which types of household are at greatest risk. It also explores how poor housing conditions and fuel related debt relate to other indicators of poverty, and goes on to examine associations with mental and physical health and disability.
Background Cancer multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are well established worldwide and are an expensive resource yet no standardised tools exist to measure performance. We aimed to develop and test an MDT self-assessment tool underpinned by literature review and consensus from over 2000 UK MDT members about the “characteristics of an effective MDT.” Methods Questionnaire items relating to all characteristics of MDTs (particularly Leadership and Chairing; Teamworking and Culture; Patient-centred care; Clinical decision-making process; and Organisation and administration during meetings) were developed by an expert panel. Acceptability, feasibility and psychometric properties were tested by online completion of the questionnaire by 23 MDTs from 4 UK NHS Trusts followed by interviews with 74 team members including members from all teams and nonresponders. 10 of the MDTs also completed questionnaires that directly translated each characteristic to an item (for the five domains above) to test content validity. Results A total of 47 items were created, each rated for agreement on a 5-point scale. A total of 329 (52 %) of 637 team members completed the questionnaire, including representation from medical, nursing and clerical MDT members. Responses correlated well with domain-specific questionnaires (r > 0.67, p = 0.01), most domain-scales had acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach alpha > 0.60), and good item discrimination (majority of items r < 0.20). Team members were positive about its value. Conclusions Self-assessment of team performance using this tool may support MDT development.
Purpose of review As rising numbers of people are living with the long-term impact of cancer, digital health is playing an increasingly important role in the monitoring and support of survivors and their caregivers. This article reviews current evidence, practice and developments, and identifies emerging issues and opportunities. Recent findings Digital health innovations, primarily using internet or smartphone-enabled applications, have been successfully developed, particularly in the areas of symptom management, decision-making, survivorship and follow-up care and palliative care. The research is characterized by much developmental activity, and evidence is accruing for efficacy and effectiveness. Opportunities afforded by digital health include timelier and patient-centred evidence-based care, offering improved clinical outcomes and independence. Barriers to implementation include lack of patient and professional engagement, perceived burden, depersonalization and missed care. Summary There is much enthusiasm for the role of digital health in monitoring and providing support to cancer survivors, but further research is needed to establish clinical efficacy and understand the mechanisms for successful implementation in practice. The role of wearables, the internet of things and big data analytics is yet to be fully explored in supportive cancer care and may present new opportunities to enhance care and survivor experience.
Purpose: To identify potential candidate predictors of anxiety in women with early stage breast cancer (BC) after adjuvant treatments and evaluate methodological development of existing multivariable models to inform the future development of a predictive risk stratification model (PRSM). Methods: Databases (MEDLINE, Web of Science, CINAHL, CENTRAL and PsycINFO) were searched from inception to November 2015. Eligible studies were prospective, recruited women with stage 0-3 BC, used a validated anxiety outcome ≥ 3 months' post-treatment completion and used multivariable prediction models. Internationally accepted quality standards were used to assess predictive risk of bias and strength of evidence. Results: Seven studies were identified, five were observational cohorts and two secondary analyses of RCTs. Variability of measurement and selective reporting precluded meta-analysis. Twenty-one candidate predictors were identified in total. Younger age and previous mental health problems were identified as risk factors in ≥ 3 studies. Clinical variables (e.g. treatment, tumour grade) were not identified as predictors in any studies. No studies adhered to all quality standards. Conclusions: Pre-existing vulnerability to mental health problems and younger age increased the risk of anxiety after completion of treatment for BC survivors, but there was no evidence that chemotherapy was a predictor. Multiple predictors were identified but many lacked reproducibility or were not measured across studies, and inadequate reporting did not allow full evaluation of the multivariable models. The use of quality standards in the development of PRSM within supportive cancer care would improve model quality and performance thereby allowing professionals to better target support for patients.
Some oncology outpatients experience a higher number of and more severe symptoms during chemotherapy (CTX). However, little is known about whether this high risk phenotype persists over time. Latent transition analysis (LTA) was used to examine the probability that patients remained in the same symptom class when assessed prior to the administration of and following their next dose of CTX. For the patients whose class membership remained consistent, differences in demographic and clinical characteristics, and quality of life (QOL) were evaluated. The Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS) was used to evaluate symptom burden. LTA was used to identify subgroups of patients with distinct symptom experiences based on the occurrence of the MSAS symptoms. Of the 906 patients evaluated, 83.9% were classified in the same symptom occurrence class at both assessments. Of these 760 patients, 25.0% were classified as Low-Low, 44.1% as Moderate-Moderate and 30.9% as High-High. Compared to the Low-Low class, the other two classes were younger, more likely to be women and to report child care responsibilities, and had a lower functional status and a higher comorbidity scores. The two higher classes reported lower QOL scores. The use of LTA could assist clinicians to identify higher risk patients and initiate more aggressive interventions.
Background Multidisciplinary team (MDT) working is well established as the foundation for providing cancer services in the UK and elsewhere. A core activity is the weekly meeting (or case conference/tumor boards) where the treatment recommendations for individual patients are agreed. Evidence suggests that the quality of team working varies across cancer teams, and this may impact negatively on the decision-making process, and ultimately patient care. Feedback on performance by expert observers may improve performance, but can be resource-intensive to implement. This proof of concept study sought to: develop a structured observational assessment tool for use by peers (managers or clinicians from the local workforce) and explore its usability; assess the feasibility of the principle of observational assessment by peers; and explore the views of MDT members and observers about the utility of feedback from observational assessment. Methods For tool development, the content was informed by national clinical consensus recommendations for best practice in cancer MDTs and developed in collaboration with an expert steering group. It consisted of ten subdomains of team working observable in MDT meetings that were rated on a 10-point scale (very poor to very good). For observational assessment, a total of 19 peer observers used the tool (assessing performance in 20 cancer teams from four hospitals). For evaluation, telephone interviews with 64 team members and all peer observers were analyzed thematically. Results The tool was easy to use and areas for refinement were identified. Peer observers were identified and most indicated that undertaking observation was feasible. MDT members generally reported that observational assessment and feedback was useful, with the potential to facilitate improvements in team working. Conclusion This study suggests that observation and feedback by peers may provide a feasible and acceptable approach to enhance MDT performance. Further tool refinement and validation is required.
Purpose We construct validated the instrument to evaluate assessor learning curves and the feasibility and interrater reliability of MTB-MODe for assessing the decision making process using video recorded multidisciplinary tumor board meetings. Materials and Methods Multidisciplinary tumor boards are becoming standard practice for managing cancer internationally but no standards have been agreed on to assess the efficacy of such teams. The MTB-MODe tool assesses the process of multidisciplinary tumor board decision making by standardized observation (1 to 5 anchored scales) of the quality of information presented at the multidisciplinary tumor board as well as board member contributions to the case review. We assessed 683 multidisciplinary tumor board case discussions using MTB-MODe in a multiphase study, including 332 cases (9 urology boards) by 1 urologist in vivo and 224 cases (6 urology boards) by 2 urologists in vivo. The instrument was refined and subsequently used to rate 127 video recorded case discussions (5 tumor types) by a total of 8 multidisciplinary tumor boards. Results Good interrater reliability was achieved in vivo and at the video recorded multidisciplinary tumor board meetings (ICC ≥0.70). MTB-MODe scores were higher in cases that resulted in a decision than in cases in which no decision was made (mean ± SD 2.54 ± 0.47 vs 2.02 ± 0.65, p ≤0.001). Conclusions A standardized method to assess the quality of multidisciplinary tumor board discussions can enhance the quality of cancer care and the ability of the boards to self-evaluate performance, thus, promoting good practice. Video recordings offer a feasible, reliable method of assessing how multidisciplinary tumor boards work.
Objectives: Walking is an adaptable, inexpensive and accessible form of physical activity. However its impact on quality of life and symptom severity in people with advanced cancer is unknown. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a community-based walking intervention to enhance quality of life (QoL) in people with recurrent/metastatic cancer. Design: We used a mixed-methods design comprising a two-centre RCT and nested qualitative interviews. Participants: Patients with advanced breast, prostate, gynaecological or haematological cancers randomised 1:1 between intervention and usual care. Intervention: The intervention comprised Macmillan’s ‘Move More’ information, a short motivational interview with a recommendation to walk for at least 30 minutes on alternate days and attend a volunteer-led group walk weekly. Outcomes: we assessed feasibility and acceptability of the intervention and RCT by evaluating study processes (rates of recruitment, consent, retention, adherence and adverse events), and using end of study questionnaires and qualitative interviews. Patient reported outcome measures (PROMS) assessing quality of life (QoL), activity, fatigue, mood and self-efficacy were completed at baseline and 6, 12 and 24 weeks. Results: We recruited 42 (38%) of eligible participants. Recruitment was lower than anticipated (goal n=60), the most commonly reported reason being unable to commit to walking groups (n=19). Randomisation procedures worked well with groups evenly matched for age, sex and activity. By week 24, there was a 45% attrition rate. Most PROMs whilst acceptable were not sensitive to change and did not capture key benefits. Conclusions: The intervention was acceptable, well tolerated and the study design was judged acceptable and feasible. Results are encouraging and demonstrate that exercise was popular and conveyed benefit to participants. Consequently, an effectiveness RCT is warranted, with some modifications to the intervention to include greater tailoring and more appropriate PROMs selected.
Purpose The benefits of physical activity for cancer survivors are increasingly recognised and smartphone applications are available to assist them to become more physically active. Cancer clinicians, however, lack confidence about which physical activity apps to recommend as evidence on their quality and content is limited. Therefore, we reviewed freely available commercial physical activity/fitness apps to systematically assess their behavioural change content and quality of their design. Methods Systematic searches of the app stores for Apple and Android operating systems were conducted and apps were screened to identify free apps appropriate for cancer survivors. Quality was assessed using the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) and behavioural content was evaluated using the Behavioural Change Techniques Taxonomy (BCTT). Results Of 341 apps identified, 67 were judged appropriate for cancer survivors and 46% combined aerobic and strength/stretching content. The overall number of behavioural change techniques (BCT) included was 3.96 (SD = 2.09), with the most frequent being ‘feedback on behaviour’ and ‘goal setting behaviour’. The mean scores for objective and subjective quality were 4.11 (SD = 0.59) and 3.07 (SD = 0.91) respectively (range 0 to 5). Finally, a modest positive correlation was found between the number of BCT and the quality of engagement, awareness and knowledge as assessed by the MARS. Conclusion Only a fifth of retrieved physical activity apps contained potentially suitable content for people affected by cancer. Overall, most apps we reviewed appeared to perform well in terms of their objective quality, but less well at promoting knowledge and awareness or help seeking related to physical activity. Implications for Cancer Survivors Many physical activity apps are available but the combined use of MARS and BCTT suggests that not all of them are suitable to the needs is a promising and feasible approach for assessing the applicability, usability and content of physical activity of apps employed by cancer survivors and this study is a first step toward developing a guide.
Purpose This study aimed to adapt the Registered Nurse Forecast (RN4CAST) nurse survey making it appropriate to assess the working environments of ambulatory chemotherapy nurses, specifically focusing on care left undone. Method A two-phase approach was used. Firstly, cognitive interviews were conducted to adapt role specific sections of the RN4CAST nurses survey. The interviews were analysed to assess comprehension, retrieval, judgement and response processes to create the RN4CAST-chemotherapy assessment tool (CAT) survey. Secondly, a single centre feasibility study was undertaken to assess acceptability of the RN4CAST-C AT survey in an ambulatory chemotherapy setting. Results of the feasibility study were analysed using descriptive statistics and compared with routinely collected patient experience data. Results The cognitive interviews (n = 6) resulted in important amendments to the RN4CAST- CAT. Response rate to the feasibility study was acceptable at 57% (n = 12) and item completion rate was good (on average only 1 response missing per item). On average nurses looked after nine patients per shift, administered seven chemotherapy treatments and worked an hour and 10 min over their contracted time. Main areas of care left undone were related to verbal communication with patients and assessing patient comorbidities and toxicities. Conclusions We were able to adapt the RN4CAST to make it suitable for use in the ambulatory chemotherapy setting. Our study offers preliminary evidence that the RN4CAST-CAT and methodology are feasible and acceptable within the ambulatory chemotherapy setting. Larger scale testing is now required and if validated the RN4CAST-CAT has the potential to provide useful insights into the impact of nursing workload on staff experience, patient care and outcomes on ambulatory chemotherapy settings.
We evaluated the impact of COVID-19 restriction on the angioplasty service and outcome of chronic limb threatening ischaemia (CLTI) patients undergoing lower limb angioplasty in a UK secondary care setting. Consecutive patients were analysed retrospectively. Pre-COVID-19 (08/2018-02/2020), 106 CLTI-patients (91% Fontaine 4; 60% diabetes mellitus) and during COVID-19 (03/2020-07/2021) 94 patients were treated (86% Fontaine 4; 66% diabetes mellitus). While the average monthly number of patients treated did not change, the proportion of day cases significantly increased (53% to 80%) and hospitalised patients decreased. Patients treated in £14/5 days after referral significantly increased to 64/63%. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis (30-day/1-year) showed that neither wound healing nor mortality were significantly changed during COVID-19. In day cases, 1-year but not 30-day major amputations significantly increased, and clinically driven target lesion revascularisation decreased during COVID-19. 1-year mortality was significantly worse in hospitalised as compared to day cases (14% vs 43%) at similar wound healing rates (83% vs 84%). The most frequent known-causes-of-death were infectious disease (64%) and cardiovascular (21%) was less frequent. Despite COVID-19 restriction a safe and effective angioplasty service was maintained while shortening waiting times. Very high mortality rates in hospitalised patients may indicate that CLTI patients need to be referred and treated more aggressively earlier.
Objectives: There is a global increase in the number of women diagnosed with cancer during their pregnancy and a nascent evidence base to guide their supportive care. The purposes of this study were to (1) map research on the psychosocial issues affecting women and their partners on diagnosis and treatment for cancer during pregnancy; (2) determine available supportive care or educational interventions; and (3) identify knowledge gaps for future research and development. Design: Scoping review. Search strategy: Six databases were searched (Scopus, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Medline, Intermid, Maternal and Infant Health) to retrieve primary research (January 1995 to November 2021) investigating women and/or their partner’s decision-making and their psychosocial outcomes during and after pregnancy. Data extraction and synthesis: Sociodemographic, gestational and disease characteristics of participants and psychosocial issues identified were extracted. Leventhal’s self-regulatory model of illness provided a framework for mapping study findings enabling evidence synthesis and gap analysis. Results: Twelve studies were included, conducted in eight countries in six continents. Most women (70% of 217) were diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy. Reporting of sociodemographic, psychiatric, obstetric and oncological characteristics that are important in assessing psychosocial outcomes was inconsistent. None of the studies had a longitudinal design and no supportive care or educational interventions were identified. The gap analysis highlighted the lack of evidence about pathways to diagnosis, impact of late effects and how internal/social resources may affect outcomes. Conclusions: Research has focused on women with gestational breast cancer. Little is known about those diagnosed with other cancers. We encourage future study designs to capture data on sociodemographic, obstetric, oncological and psychiatric characteristics and adopt a longitudinal approach to explore the longer term psychosocial impact on women and their families. Future research should include outcomes that are meaningful for women (and their partners) and draw on international collaboration to accelerate progress in this field.
Background Low levels of cancer awareness may contribute to delays in seeking medical help and subsequent delays in diagnosis. For blood cancer this may be a particularly prominent problem due to the high prevalence of undifferentiated symptoms such as bodily pain, weakness, nausea and weight loss, resulting in low symptom awareness. The delay is exacerbated by the dismissal of similar symptoms which are often interpreted as mild disease, resulting in multiple consultations prior to diagnosis. This study describes the development of a Cancer Awareness Measure for Blood Cancer (Blood CAM) and presents results from a population-representative survey using the measure. Methods A rapid systematic review identified constructs relevant to blood cancer. Items were taken from previous awareness measures and other literature and reviewed by expert groups including health care professionals and patients. Cognitive interviews were conducted with ten members of the public to check comprehension and clarity. A total sample of 434 participants completed the survey at Time 1 and n=302 at Time 2 (two weeks later). Results Internal reliability was high across the different constructs included in the questionnaire (>0.70) and test-retest reliability was moderate to good (0.49-0.79). The most commonly recognised blood cancer symptoms were unexplained weight loss (68.9%) and unexplained bleeding (64.9%) and the least commonly recognised symptoms were night sweats (31.3%) breathlessness and rash/itchy skin (both 44%). In terms of symptom experience, fatigue was the most commonly reported symptom (26.7%) followed by night sweats (25.4%). Exploratory factor analysis of barriers to presenting at primary care revealed three distinct categories of barriers; emotional, external/practical and service/healthcare professional related. Service and emotional barriers were most common. Conclusions We developed a valid and reliable tool to assess blood cancer awareness and showed variable awareness of blood cancer symptoms which can help target public health campaigns. We also incorporated additional measures (e.g. confidence to re-consult, ability to understand symptoms) that could be used to tailor public messaging for blood cancer and for other harder to suspect and diagnose cancers.
ObjectivesGlobal, COVID-driven restrictions around face-to-face interviews for healthcare student selection have forced admission staff to rapidly adopt adapted online systems before supporting evidence is available. We have developed, what we believe is, the first automated interview grounded in multiple mini-interview (MMI) methodology. This study aimed to explore test–retest reliability, acceptability and usability of the system.Design, setting and participantsMultimethod feasibility study in Physician Associate programmes from two UK and one US university during 2019–2020.Primary, secondary outcomesFeasibility measures (test–retest reliability, acceptability and usability) were assessed using intraclass correlation (ICC), descriptive statistics, thematic and content analysis.MethodsVolunteers took (T1), then repeated (T2), the automated MMI, with a 7-day interval (±2) then completed an evaluation questionnaire. Admission staff participated in focus group discussions.ResultsSixty-two students and seven admission staff participated; 34 students and 4 staff from UK and 28 students and 3 staff from US universities. Good-excellent test–retest reliability was observed at two sites (US and UK2) with T1 and T2 ICC between 0.65 and 0.81 (p
Background Teamwork is essential for providing safe, effective and women-centred maternity care and several high profile investigations have highlighted the adverse conseqences of dysfuntional teamwork. Maternity teams may need support to identify the most relevant intervention(s) for improving teamwork. Objective To identify and describe current ‘off-the-shelf’ teamwork interventions freely or commercially available to support improvements to teamworking in UK maternity services and conduct a gap analysis to identify areas for future development. Design Rapid scoping review Methods A multi-component search process was used to identify teamwork interventions, comprising: (1) bibliographic database search (Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, MIDRS, NICE evidence research database); (2) identification of relevant policies and UK reports; and (3) expert input from key stakeholders (e.g., maternity service clinicians, managers, policymakers, and report authors). Data were extracted including the scope and content of each intervention and a gap analysis used to map interventions to the integrated team effectiveness model (ITEM) and structure level (macro, meso, micro) and results presented narratively. Findings Ten interventions were identified. Interventions were heterogeneous in their purpose and scope; six were classified as training courses, three were tools involving observational or diagnostics instruments, and one was a programme involving training and organisational re-design. Interventions were focused on teamwork in the context of obstetric emergencies (n=5), enhancement of routine care (n=4) or understanding workplace cultures (n=1). Users of interventions could vary, from whole organisations, to departments, to individual team members. All interventions focused on micro (e.g., team leadership, communication, decision-making, cohesion, and problem solving), with two also focused on meso aspects of teamwork (resources, organisational goals). Evidence for intervention effective on objective outcomes was limited. Conclusions Interventions that address key aspects of teamworking are available, particularly for improving safety in obstetric emergency situations. Most interventions, however, are focused on micro features, ignoring the meso (organisational) and macro (systems) features that may also impact on team effectiveness. Evidence-based team improvement interventions that address these gaps are needed. Such interventions would support team ownership of quality improvement, leading to improvements in outcomes for service users, staff and organisations.
Background Multidisciplinary Team Meetings (MDTMs), where treatment recommendations are discussed and agreed, are fundamental to effective cancer care. The increasing volume and complexity of caseloads has led to the need to transform MDTM pathways to improve efficiency and allow sufficient time for discussion of complex cases. Understanding of current functioning and inefficiencies is required to inform such transformation. Methods A mixed-methods observational study of all lung cancer MDTMs in one UK cancer network over 12 weeks (n=8 MDTs, 96 MDT meetings). Data were collected on meeting attendance and on each discussed case using a validated MDT tool. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a range of MDT members and cancer service managers to gain understanding of perceived influences on the efficiency of MDTMs. Results 1671 case discussions were observed. Models of MDT working, including referral and diagnostic pathway management, varied within the network. Attendance was quorate in only 21% of the observed MDTMs, most often lacking palliative care specialists. Over a third (37%) of observed cases were repeat discussions pre-diagnosis. Treatment recommendations were agreed in 48% of case discussions but deferred for a quarter (24%) of discussed cases, most commonly due to awaiting results. Information about patients’ fitness for treatment and/or Performance Status score was available for 60% of cases discussed overall (30-75% by MDT). Interviews (n=56) identified addressing clinical and administrative workforce shortages, less reliance on the MDTM for pre-diagnostic decision-making and better availability of key clinical information about patients discussed in the MDTM as factors critical to improved MDT function. Conclusions Inefficiencies were prevalent in all MDTMs; improvements would require an individualised approach due to the variation in ways of working. Local, regional and national support is needed for lung MDTs to develop their diagnostic workforce and facilities, and clinical and administrative resource.
Objective: Approaches to improve earlier diagnosis of cancer often focus on symptom awareness as a key driver of help-seeking behaviour and other psychological influences are less well understood. This is the first study to explore the role of patient enablement on help-seeking for people experiencing potential blood cancer symptoms. Methods: A cross-sectional, nationally representative survey was completed by 434 respondents (>18 years). Questions asked about symptom experiences, medical help-seeking and re-consultation. Existing patient enablement items were included in the newly developed Blood Cancer Awareness Measure. We collected data on patient socio-demographic characteristics. Results: Of those responding to the survey 224/434 (51.6%) reported experiencing at least one potential blood cancer symptom. Half of those experiencing symptoms (112/224) had sought medical help. Results from logistic regression analysis showed that higher scores on patient enablement were associated with being less likely to seek help (OR 0.89, CI 0.81-0.98) after controlling for socio-demographics. Separate analyses showed that higher enablement was associated with being more comfortable to re-consult if symptoms didn’t go away or got worse (OR 1.31, CI 1.16-1.48); after a test result suggested there was nothing to worry about, but symptoms persisted (OR 1.23, CI 1.12-1.34) or to request further tests, scans or investigations (OR 1.31, 1.19-1.44). Conclusions: Contrary to our hypotheses, patient enablement was associated with lower likelihood of help-seeking for potential blood cancer symptoms. Yet enablement appears to play an important role in likelihood of re-consulting when symptoms persist, get worse or need further investigation.
Background: Globally, Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) are considered the gold standard for diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other conditions, but variability in performance has led to demand for improvement tools. MDT-FIT (Multidisciplinary Team Feedback for Improving Teamwork) is an improvement programme developed iteratively with over 100 MDTs (>= 1100 MDT-members). Complex interventions are often adapted to context, but this is rarely evaluated. We conducted a prospective evaluation of the implementation of MDT-FIT across an entire integrated care system (ICS). Methods: MDT-FIT was implemented within all breast cancer MDTs across an ICS in England (n = 10 MDTs; 275 medical, nursing, and administrative members). ICS managers coordinated the implementation across the three stages of MDT-FIT: set up; assessment (self-report by team members plus independent observational assessment); team-feedback and facilitated discussion to agree actions for improvement. Data were collected using process and systems logs, and interviews with a purposively selected range of participants. Analysis was theoretically grounded in evidence-based frameworks for implementation strategies and outcomes. Results: All 10 MDTs participated in MDT-FIT; 36 interviews were conducted. Data from systems and process logs covered a 9-month period. Adaptations to MDT-FIT by the ICS (e.g., coordination of team participation by ICS rather than individual hospitals; and reducing time protected for coordination) reduced Fidelity and Adoption of MDT-FIT. However, the Acceptability, Appropriateness and Feasibility of MDT-FIT remained high due to embedding implementation strategies in the development of MDT-FIT (e.g., stakeholder engagement, interactive support). Conclusions: This is a unique and comprehensive evaluation of the multi-site implementation of a complex team improvement programme. Findings support the imperative of considering implementation strategies when designing such programmes to minimize potentially negative impacts of adaptations in "real world" settings.
Objective: To develop a predictive risk model (PRM) for patient-reported anxiety after treatment completion for early stage breast cancer suitable for use in practice and underpinned by advances in data science and risk prediction. Methods: Secondary analysis of a prospective survey of > 800 women at the end of treatment and again 6 months later using patient reported outcome (PRO) the hospital anxiety and depression scale-anxiety (HADS-A) and > 20 candidate predictors. Multiple imputation using chained equations (for missing data) and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) were used to select predictors. Final multivariable linear model performance was assessed (R2) and bootstrapped for internal validation. Results: Five predictors of anxiety selected by LASSO were HADS-A (Beta 0.73; 95% CI 0.681, 0.785); HAD-depression (Beta 0.095; 95% CI 0.020, 0.182) and having caring responsibilities (Beta 0.488; 95% CI 0.084, 0.866) increased risk, whereas being older (Beta - 0.010; 95% CI -0.028, 0.004) and owning a home (Beta 0.432; 95% CI -0.954, 0.078) reduced the risk. The final model explained 60% of variance and bias was low (- 0.006 to 0.002). Conclusions: Different modelling approaches are needed to predict rather than explain patient reported outcomes. We developed a parsimonious and pragmatic PRM. External validation is required prior to translation to digital tool and evaluation of clinical implementation. The routine use of PROs and data driven PRM in practice provides a new opportunity to target supportive care and specialist interventions for cancer patients.
Femoral artery (FA) endothelial function is a promising biomarker of lower extremity vascular health for peripheral artery disease (PAD) prevention and treatment; however, the impact of age on FA endothelial function has not been reported in healthy adults. Therefore, we evaluated the reproducibility and acceptability of flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in the FA and brachial artery (BA) (n = 20) and performed cross-sectional FA- and BA-FMD measurements in healthy non-smokers aged 22–76 years (n = 50). FMD protocols demonstrated similar good reproducibility. Leg occlusion was deemed more uncomfortable than arm occlusion; thigh occlusion was less tolerated than forearm and calf occlusion. FA-FMD with calf occlusion was lower than BA-FMD (6.0 ± 1.1% vs 6.4 ± 1.3%, p = 0.030). Multivariate linear regression analysis indicated that age (−0.4%/decade) was a significant independent predictor of FA-FMD (R2 = 0.35, p = 0.002). The age-dependent decline in FMD did not significantly differ between FA and BA (pinteraction agexlocation = 0.388). In older participants, 40% of baseline FA wall shear stress (WSS) values were
Predictive risk models are advocated in psychosocial oncology practice to provide timely and appropriate support to those likely to experience the emotional and psychological consequences of cancer and its treatments. New digital technologies mean that large scale and routine data collection are becoming part of everyday clinical practice. Using these data to try to identify those at greatest risk for late psychosocial effects of cancer is an attractive proposition in a climate of unmet need and limited resource. In this paper, we present a framework to support the development of high-quality predictive risk models in psychosocial and supportive oncology. The aim is to provide awareness and increase accessibility of best practice literature to support researchers in psychosocial and supportive care to undertake a structured evidence-based approach.
Objective: To evaluate effects of remote monitoring of adjuvant chemotherapy related side effects via the Advanced Symptom Management System (ASyMS) on symptom burden, quality of life, supportive care needs, anxiety, self-efficacy, and work limitations. Design: Multicentre, repeated measures, parallel group, evaluator masked, stratified randomised controlled trial. Setting: Twelve cancer centres in Austria, Greece, Norway, Republic of Ireland, and UK. Participants: 829 patients with non-metastatic breast cancer, colorectal cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma receiving first line adjuvant chemotherapy or chemotherapy for the first time in five years. Intervention: Patients were randomised to ASyMS (intervention; n=415) or standard care (control; n=414) over six cycles of chemotherapy. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was symptom burden (Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale; MSAS). Secondary outcomes were health related quality of life (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—General; FACT-G), Supportive Care Needs Survey Short-Form (SCNS-SF34), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory—Revised (STAI-R), Communication and Attitudinal Self-Efficacy scale for cancer (CASE-Cancer), and work limitations questionnaire (WLQ). Results: For the intervention group, symptom burden remained at pre-chemotherapy treatment levels, whereas controls reported an increase from cycle 1 onwards (least squares absolute mean difference −0.15, 95% confidence interval −0.19 to −0.12; P
We undertook a rapid review of literature relating to the diagnosis of blood cancers, to find out what factors contribute to delays in diagnosis, including symptom recognition, appraisal and help-seeking behaviours. We used rapid review methodology following Tricco to synthesise current literature from two electronic databases. We searched for studies about symptom appraisal help-seeking for all blood cancers published between 2001 and 2021, written in English. Fifteen studies were included in the review, of which 10 were published in the United Kingdom. We found a number of factors associated with delays in blood cancer diagnosis. These included patient factors such as gender, age and ethnicity, as well as health system factors such as poor communication and seeing a locum clinician in primary care. A narrative synthesis of the evidence produced four types of symptom interpretation by patients: (1) symptoms compatible with normal state of health, (2) event-linked problems, (3) mild or chronic illness and (4) non-specific unwell state. These four interpretations were linked to different help-seeking behaviours. After seeking help, patients often experienced delays due to healthcare professionals' (HCPs') non-serious interpretation of symptoms, misleading blood tests, discontinuity of care and other barriers in the diagnostic pathway. Blood cancers are difficult to diagnose due to non-specific heterogeneous symptoms, and this is reflected in how those symptoms are interpreted by patients and managed by HCPs. It is important to understand how different interpretations affect delays in help-seeking, and what HCPs can do to support timely follow-up for patients.
Objectives To evaluate the impact of the shift to virtual lung cancer multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTMs) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically in relation to the magnitude of information technology (IT) issues and distractions and MDT members’/managers’ perceptions and experiences of this shift. Design A mixed-methods study comprising real-time observations of IT issues/distractions within virtual MDTM case discussions held between April-July 2021 and qualitative data from interviews/surveys. Setting Eight hospital organisations in Southern England. Participants Team members (respiratory physicians, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, palliative care professionals, nurses and MDT coordinators) and managers (n=190) across eight local MDTs. Results MDTM observations (n=1664) highlighted significant variation between teams regarding IT functionality. IT issues and other distractions relating to the virtual MDTM format were observed 465 times affecting 20.6% of case discussions, most of which were audio issues (18.1%). Case discussions that had audio issues were, on average, 26 seconds longer (t(1652) = -2.77, p < .01). A total of 73 MDT members and managers participated in the survey and 41 participated in interviews, with all eight teams being represented. Increased flexibility, reduced travel time and easier real-time access to patient information were seen as the main advantages of virtual MDTMs. Views regarding the impact on relational aspects and communication differed. In line with observational findings, concerns were raised in relation to IT, including having inappropriate equipment, insufficient bandwidth (impairing image-sharing and video communication) and an overarching theme that virtual meeting platforms provided were not fit-for-purpose. Conclusions Despite the potential benefits of virtual MDTMs, IT issues can waste valuable MDTM time. If hospital organisations plan to continue virtual MDTMs, a functioning infrastructure is required, necessitating appropriate resource and investment.
Objective: To develop a tool for independent observational assessment of cancer multidisciplinary team meetings (MDMs), and test criterion validity, inter-rater reliability/agreement and describe performance. Design: Clinicians and experts in teamwork used a mixed-methods approach to develop and refine the tool. Study 1 observers rated pre-determined optimal/sub-optimal MDM film excerpts and Study 2 observers independently rated video-recordings of 10 MDMs. Setting: Study 2 included 10 cancer MDMs in England. Participants: Testing was undertaken by 13 health service staff and a clinical and non-clinical observer. Intervention: None. Main Outcome Measures: Tool development, validity, reliability/agreement and variability in MDT performance. Results: Study 1: Observers were able to discriminate between optimal and sub-optimal MDM performance (P ≤ 0.05). Study 2: Inter-rater reliability was good for 3/10 domains. Percentage of absolute agreement was high (≥80%) for 4/10 domains and percentage agreement within 1 point was high for 9/10 domains. Four MDTs performed well (scored 3+ in at least 8/10 domains), 5 MDTs performed well in 6–7 domains and 1 MDT performed well in only 4 domains. Leadership and chairing of the meeting, the organization and administration of the meeting, and clinical decision-making processes all varied significantly between MDMs (P ≤ 0.01). Conclusions: MDT-MOT demonstrated good criterion validity. Agreement between clinical and nonclinical observers (within one point on the scale) was high but this was inconsistent with reliability coefficients and warrants further investigation. If further validated MDT-MOT might provide a useful mechanism for the routine assessment of MDMs by the local workforce to drive improvements in MDT performance.
Summary Objectives Individuals who are out of work have a higher rate of common mental disorders (CMD) than individuals who are employed. People who are unemployed in the UK are entitled to welfare benefits to alleviate financial strain. This study examined rates of CMD in individuals who were employed, unemployed and receiving various UK benefits. It also investigated associations between duration of unemployment, gender and CMD. Study design An analysis of 5090 working-age participants from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007, a stratified probability sample survey conducted among adults aged 16 years and over living in private households in England. Methods CMD was assessed using the Clinical Interview Schedule (Revised). Information was gathered on sociodemographics, employment, income, benefits and debt. Data were analysed using logistic regression …
The widespread introduction of multidisciplinary team (MDT)-work for breast cancer management has in part evolved due to the increasing complexity of diagnostic and treatment decision-making. An MDT approach aims to bring together the range of specialists required to discuss and agree treatment recommendations and ongoing management for individual patients. MDTs are resource-intensive yet we lack strong (randomized controlled trial) evidence of their effectiveness. Clinical consensus is generally favorable on the benefits of effective specialist MDT-work. Many studies have shown the benefits of receiving treatment from a specialist center, and evidence continues to accrue from comparative studies of clinical benefits of an MDT approach, including improved survival. Patients’ views of the MDT model of decision-making (and in particular its impact on involvement in decisions about their care) have been under-researched. Barriers to effective teamwork and poor decision-making include excessive caseload, low attendance at meetings, lack of leadership, poor communication, role ambiguity, and failure to consider patients’ holistic needs. Breast cancer nurses have a key role in relation to assessing holistic needs, and their specialist contribution has also been associated with improved patient experience and quality of life. This paper examines the evidence for the benefits of MDT-work, in particular for breast cancer. Evidence is considered within a context of growing cancer incidence at a time of increased financial restraint, and it may now be important to reevaluate the structure and models of MDT-work to ensure that MDTs are an efficient use of resources.
Increasing numbers of people in the UK are living with recurrent or metastatic cancer, many of whom experience reduced quality of life resulting from the physical and psychosocial consequences of cancer and its treatment. While drug treatments are important at alleviating some symptoms, there is increasing evidence of the benefits of exercise in enhancing quality of life and health outcomes. Walking is an inexpensive and accessible form of exercise. To our knowledge, no studies have investigated whether a walking intervention is sufficient to enhance quality of life and alleviate symptoms in people with recurrent or metastatic cancer across a range of tumor types. This paper describes the CanWalk study protocol, which aims to assess the feasibility and acceptability of undertaking a randomized controlled trial of a community-based walking program to enhance quality of life and well …
This study investigates potential explanations of the association between caring and common mental disorder, using the English Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007. We examined whether carers are more exposed to other stressors additional to caring–such as domestic violence and debt–and if so whether this explains their elevated rates of mental disorder. We analysed differences between carers and non-carers in common mental disorders (CMD), suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts, recent stressors, social support, and social participation. We used multivariate models to investigate whether differences between carers and non-carers in identifiable stressors and supports explained the association between caring and CMD, as measured by the revised Clinical Interview Schedule. The prevalence of CMD (OR= 1.64 95% CI 1.37–1.97), suicidal thoughts in the last week (OR …
Background. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs) by occupation in a representative sample of the English adult population. Another aim was to examine whether the increased risk of CMD in some occupations could be explained by adverse work characteristics. Method. We derived a sample of 3425 working-age respondents from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007. Occupations were classified by Standard Occupational Classification group, and CMD measured by the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule. Job characteristics were measured by questionnaire, and tested as explanatory factors in associations of occupation and CMD. Results. After adjusting for age, gender, housing tenure and marital status, caring personal service occupations had the greatest risk of CMD compared with all occupations (odds ratio 1.73, 95% confidence interval 1.16–2.58). The prevalence of adverse psychosocial work characteristics did not follow the pattern of CMD by occupation. Work characteristics did not explain the increased risk of CMDs associated with working in personal service occupations. Contrary to our hypotheses, adding work characteristics individually to the association of occupation and CMD tended to increase rather than decrease the odds for CMD. Conclusions. As has been found by others, psychosocial work characteristics were associated with CMD. However, we found that in our English national dataset they could not explain the high rates of CMD in particular occupations. We suggest that selection into occupations may partly explain high CMD rates in certain occupations. Also, we did not measure emotional demands, and these may be important mediators of the relationship between occupation type and CMDs.