Assessing post-radiotherapy handover notes from a family physician perspective

A. Dang, S. Miller, D. Horvat, T. Klassen-Ross, M. Graveline, R. Collins, R. Olson



Across our province, post-radiotherapy (rt) handover notes are sent to family physicians (fps) after rt. Based on previous fp feedback, we created a revised post-radiotherapy handover note with more information requested by fps. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the revised handover note improved the note as a communication aid.


Potential common and rare treatment side effects, oncologist contact information, and treatment intent were added to the revised handover note. Both versions were sent alongside a questionnaire to fps. Paired t-tests were carried out to compare satisfaction differences.


There was a response rate of 37% for the questionnaires. Significantly greater clarity in the following categories was observed: responsibility for patient follow-up (mean score improvement of 1.2 on a 7-point Likert scale, p < 0.001), follow-up schedule (1.1, p < 0.001) as well as how and when to contact the oncologist (1.4, p = 0.001). Family physicians were also more content with how the institute transitioned care back to them (1.5, p = 0.012). Overall, fps were generally satisfied with the content of the revised post-rt handover note and noted improvement over the previous version. The frequency of investigations and institute supports initiated such as counselling services were suggested further additions.


The inclusion of potential treatment side effects, oncologist contact information, treatment intent and a well-laid out follow-up schedule were essential information needed by fps for an effective post-rt completion note. With these additions, the revised post-rt handover note showed significant improvement.


Radiation oncology; post-radiotherapy handover note


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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)