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  • Author: Zhiyuan Zheng x
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Ashish Rai, Xuesong Han, Zhiyuan Zheng, K. Robin Yabroff and Ahmedin Jemal

Background: Despite the surge of interest in improving provider communication, empirical research is sparse on the determinants and outcomes of cancer survivors' satisfaction with healthcare provider communication. Methods: Longitudinal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data spanning 2008 through 2014 was used to identify 4,588 respondents who were ever diagnosed with cancer. A composite score was generated by combining 5 measures of satisfaction. We used multivariate logistic regressions and 2-part models to examine the associations between satisfaction ratings and outcomes, including general, mental, and physical health; office visits; and total healthcare, drug, and out-of-pocket expenditures. Results: The study sample comprised 2,257 nonelderly (age 18–64 years) and 2,331 elderly (age ≥65 years) respondents. Among both age groups, higher satisfaction was associated with fewer comorbidities, fewer year 1 office visits, and absence of year 1 emergency department visits. Membership of higher satisfaction tertile in year 1 was associated with better year 2 mental health (tertile 1 [T1]: predictive margin [PM], 27.1%; tertile 2 [T2]: PM, 35.5%; P=.013; tertile 3 [T3]: PM, 37.0%; P=.005) and general health (T1 [ref]: PM, 30.3%; T3: PM, 38.9%; P=.007) among the elderly. Greater satisfaction was associated with fewer year 2 office visits (T1 [ref]: PM, 7.42 visits; T3: PM, 6.26 visits; P=.038) among the nonelderly; and lower year 2 healthcare expenditures (T1 [ref]: PM, $34,071; T3: PM, $26,995; P=.049) among the elderly. Conclusions: We identified potential differences in cancer survivors' needs and expectations of provider communication based on comorbidities and baseline service use. These results emphasize the need for individualized communication strategies for patients with cancer and survivors shaped by their distinct requirements. Our findings of better health, lower service use, and lower expenditures among more satisfied cancer survivors suggest that interventions to improve provider communication could lead to a more efficient use of healthcare resources.