The patient experience of ambulatory cancer treatment: a descriptive study

E. Bridge, L. Gotlib Conn, S. Dhanju, S. Singh, L. Moody


Background Patient experience is often measured quantitatively, but that approach has limitations for understanding the entire experience. Qualitative methods can help to understand more complex issues most important to patients and their families. The purpose of the present work was to use a qualitative analysis examining the patient experience of ambulatory cancer care in Ontario to generate a deeper understanding of the patient experience and to lead to solutions for improvement.

Methods Data from the Ambulatory Oncology Patient Satisfaction Survey (aopss) for 2013–2015 were used to conduct a qualitative content analysis. The aopss is a retrospective paper-based survey, mailed to patients who are currently receiving cancer treatment or who have received cancer treatment within the preceding 6 months, that is designed to capture their experiences. Patients who were surveyed were asked, “Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your cancer care services?” The National Research Corporation Canada’s patient-centred care framework was used to guide the analysis.

Results From the 5391 patients who responded, 7328 coded responses were generated, of which 3658 (49.9%) were related to the patient-centred care framework. New subthemes were identified: diagnosis sensitivity; emotional support resources; care delivery with care, compassion, and comfort; continuity of care between departments and in the community; access to cancer centre personnel; patient–health care provider communication; confidence in the health care provider; wait times; health care provider and treatment coordination; and parking.

Conclusions The results identify facilitators and barriers to the patient experience in the ambulatory cancer treatment setting from the patient perspective and identify opportunities to improve the patient experience.


Person-centred care; patient experiences; survey research; qualitative analyses

Full Text:



Copyright © 2019 Multimed Inc.
ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)