A pilot evaluation of the expanded prostate cancer index composite for clinical practice (EPIC-CP) tool in Ontario

To introduce the EPIC-CP symptom screening tool in routine ambulatory cancer care, and to evaluate its acceptability and perceived usefulness from the perspective of patients and clinicians.

Eligible prostate cancer patients from four cancer centres were recruited (November 2014-June 2015) from radiation or surgical oncology clinics. A physician and/or health care professional reviewed the EPIC-CP results as part of the clinical encounter. Patient experience with the tool was evaluated using a nine-item Patient Exit Survey (PES). Clinician experience was evaluated through semi-structured qualitative interviews. Patient and clinician results were compared to identify common themes.

A total of 333 patients were enrolled, of whom, 287 completed the PES. Most patients had one clinical encounter, although the number of EPIC-CP assessments ranged from 1 to 11 per patient, for a total of 937 EPIC-CP questionnaires completed. Item completion rates were high (91-100%), with items addressing sexual health among the lowest (91-92%). On the PES, most patients (70%) agreed with the item: "Completing this questionnaire helped me tell the clinicians about how I have been feeling". Thematic analysis from clinician interviews revealed that the EPIC-CP captures essential prostate-specific effects that facilitated person-centred communication and customization of interventions. Targeted clinical education and patient resources were seen as necessary for uptake.

EPIC-CP was generally endorsed by clinicians and patients. The implementation of a disease-specific measure in place of a generic symptom screening tool has the potential to improve the quality of the clinical encounter and provide outcome measures for further health services research. Provincial implementation of this tool as a standard of care is recommended.

Quality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation. 2018 Oct 31 [Epub ahead of print]

M D Brundage, L Barbera, F McCallum, D M Howell

Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, Queen's Cancer Research Institute, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada. ., Clinical Department of Oncology, Cancer Control Alberta, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada., Patient Reported Outcomes and Symptom Management, Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada., Psychosocial Oncology and Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.