Building an infrastructure and standard methodology for actively engaging patients in advance care planning

Karen Stepan, Lara Bashoura, Marina George, Wendy Griffith, Margaret Meyer, Nico Nortjé, Kristen Price, Donna S. Zhukovsky, Maria Alma Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE With little to no infrastructure or standardized methodology in place to actively engage patients in advance care planning (ACP), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center set out to identify needed resources, develop an intervention to improve ACP, and evaluate the intervention’s effects. METHODS With the support of executive leadership, a multidisciplinary workgroup enlisted the support of ACP champions, performed a root-cause analysis, developed a detailed ACP process flow by provider role, developed patient and family education resources, and developed faculty and staff training materials. The workgroup also implemented two Plan-Do-Study-Act intervention cycles, which identified difficulty using the ACP note function in our electronic health record (EHR) as a barrier to ACP adoption. By educating patients, families, and providers and improving the EHR’s functionality, the workgroup aimed to increase the percentage of ambulatory patients with a diagnosis of advanced or metastatic cancer who had a documented ACP conversation with a provider by their third office visit. Our goal was to improve this percentage from 20% at baseline to 50% after the intervention. Data were obtained from our institution’s EHRs. RESULTS The percentage of patients who had documented ACP conversations increased from 20% at baseline to 34% at the end of fiscal year 2017 and 54% at the end of fiscal year 2018. CONCLUSION Owing to the dedicated efforts of many individuals across the institution, the postintervention goal was surpassed. Additional efforts to facilitate ACP conversations are ongoing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1085-e1091
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy

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