Anyidoho, P. A., Verschraegen, C. F., Markham, M. J., Alberts, S., Sweetenham, J., Cameron, K., & Abu Hejleh, T. (2023). Impact of the immediate release of clinical information rules on health care delivery to patients with cancer. JCO Oncology Practice, 19(5), e706-e713. https://doi.org/10.1200/OP.22.00712
The 21st Century Cures Act mandates the immediate release of clinical information (IRCI) to patients. Immediate sharing of sensitive test results to patients with cancer might have serious unintended consequences for patients and providers.
A 22-question REDCap survey was designed by the Association of American Cancer Institutes Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative Steering Committee to explore oncology providers’ opinions on IRCI policy implementation. It was administered twice in 2021 with a 3-month interval. A third survey with a single question seeking providers’ opinions about their adaptation to the IRCI mandate was administered 1 year later to those who had responded to the earlier surveys. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as chi-squared or Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables. The survey was sent to all Association of American Cancer Institutes cancer center members. In the first or second administration, 167 practitioners answered the survey; 31 responded to the third survey.
Three quarters of the providers did not favor the new requirement for IRCI and 62% encountered questions from patients about results being sent to them without provider interpretation. Only half of the hospitals had a plan in place to deal with the new IRCI requirements. A third survey, for longitudinal follow-up, indicated a more favorable trend toward adoption of IRCI.
IRCI for patients with cancer was perceived negatively by academic oncology providers after its implementation. It was viewed to be associated with higher levels of patient anxiety and complaints about the care delivered. Providers preferred to discuss test results with patients before release.