T-25: Understanding the Human Challenges Facing Oncologist who Treat NSCLC
Digital Strategy Consultant
Accenture United Kingdom
Identify the emotional drivers of Oncologists who treat lung cancer and understand where they experience areas of unmet need, identify the key challenges in the care pathway that contribute to these unmet needs and understand the greatest opportunities to address these unmet needs.
14 question survey of 83 Oncologists specialised in NSCLC in the UK, Germany and France during a one-week period August 2017. Individual one-hour semi-structured interviews with 10 Oncologists specialised in NSCLC in the UK during a two-week period November 2017.
The results of the quantitative survey revealed that the Oncologists experience unmet needs that group around four themes. The first theme is ‘Taking Pride’, which encompasses the complicated mechanism through which Oncologists take pride in their work as they balance the promise of new therapies with the everyday reality of the comparatively poor average one-year prognosis facing their patients. The second theme is ‘Managing Stress’, which encompasses the various pressures that Oncologists face on their time and emotional well-being whilst trying to deliver the best care. The third theme is ‘Solving a Medical Challenge’, which encompasses the various scenarios in which the Oncologists experience a deficit in access to relevant, up-to-date clinical information easily applicable to patient cases. The fourth theme is ‘Being a Trusted Partner’, which encompasses the difficulty Oncologists experience in trying to meet their patients’ full range of psychological, spiritual, social, financial and medical care needs.
The results of the qualitative semi-structured interviews revealed the tested hypothesis of unmet needs to be true, and furthermore that there are key challenges throughout the UK first line lung cancer care pathway which contribute to the unmet needs of Oncologists. The high incidence of patients presenting as emergency admissions was found to contribute to the difficulty which Oncologists experience taking pride in their work. Inconsistent diagnostic protocols for lung cancer were found to contribute to the difficulty Oncologists experience solving a medical challenge. The shortage of Lung Cancer Nurse Specialists at key moments such as the first treatment consultation was found to contribute to the difficulty Oncologists experience managing stress. The infrequent practice of creating and following a personalised care plan for patients was found to contribute to the difficulty which Oncologists experience in being a trusted partner for their patients.
There are key opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to respond to the challenges in the care pathway that are contributing to the unmet needs of Oncologists. There is an opportunity to help give Oncologists a greater opportunity to make an impact on patient outcomes by helping to reduce the number of patients who present to secondary care as emergency admissions. There is an opportunity to help raise awareness of patient biomarker test eligibility and the lung biopsy requirements necessary to conduct a biomarker test, as well as to assess and scale lung cancer diagnostic protocols which are proven to deliver optimal outcomes for patients and payers. There is an opportunity to increase the access which Oncologists have to Lung Cancer Nurse Specialists who can act as a point of continuity in patient care, and who are equipped with the skills to monitor patients on new lung cancer therapies. There is an opportunity to help Oncologists create the gold standard for patient care conversations and personalised care planning in NSCLC.