In oncology—as in all types of medicine—providers treat patients from all backgrounds with personal histories unique to each one. Recognizing and understanding patients’ personal characteristics such as culture, language, religion, financial status, education, lifestyle, and identity can be as important as clinical factors in choosing and customizing effective treatment plans. Cancer treatment regimens that do not take these variables into account can inadvertently perpetuate established disparities in cancer care and outcomes.
To best meet the individual needs of the diverse patient populations they serve, multidisciplinary cancer care teams must appreciate their patients’ distinct characteristics and personalize their care if they want to achieve optimal health outcomes. This begins with having an awareness of disparities in healthcare delivery, treatment, and outcomes, and cultivating a willingness to seek and mitigate past and current injustices in clinical practice.
According to information about health disparities cited by the National Cancer Institute:
To combat the continuation of these and other patient disparities, community cancer centers need practical solutions, supportive resources, and training for their multidisciplinary cancer care teams. In response to that need, Personalizing Care for Patients of All Backgrounds: Insights for the Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Team proposes to arm community care teams with the tools they need to identify and address healthcare injustice and to personalize care plans based on individual patient preferences and factors.
This initiative includes patient and provider surveys to provide insight into patient needs and provider knowledge and resources; a video series that demonstrates implicit bias in community practice and practical solutions for mitigating that bias; a dynamic online library of tools and resources care teams can use to guide treatment planning; and an infographic to support the personalization of care in the community setting.
Read about ACCC’s initiative to understand how well care teams identify and honor patient’s goals and preferences. Through comprehensive provider and patient surveys, ACCC examines current practices and gauges perceptions on health equity, healthcare injustice, and implicit bias in the community care setting. Findings from these surveys have guided the development of a suite of tools and resources that cancer care teams can use to personalize care around a patient’s unique identity and care goals.
ACCC has curated a comprehensive resource bank of nationally available publications, tools, videos, and other relevant assets to help multidisciplinary care teams identify and address implicit bias and healthcare injustice, as well as facilitate the personalization of care for patients. Access this collection of resources which explores key concepts related to health equity, health literacy, implicit bias, social determinants of health, vulnerable populations, language and cultural barriers, and culturally competent care.
Access Resource Library
Learn how to identify and honor patients’ goals and preferences through strategies that personalize care around a patient’s unique identity. This downloadable infographic has been designed to help multidisciplinary care teams recognize healthcare injustice and offers tips and resources to better guide equitable care.
Watch the Personalizing Care Video Series, a collection of 3 short videos (Beyond Labels: Personalize Care Conversations; Beyond Bias: Promote Equity in Care; and Beyond Barriers: Speak Clearly, Care Deeply) which portray real-world experiences observed in the community care setting. Created to help multidisciplinary care teams better understand how to personalize care, this video series explores and demonstrates best practices like gender-inclusive care, overcoming implicit bias, and clear communication.
For more information on this project, please contact the ACCC Provider Education department.
Funding and support provided by Pfizer Oncology.