Since 2020, LUNGevity has been engaged in research to understand the experiences of lung cancer patients, particularly those receiving care at community hospitals and those from medically underserved communities, as they receive biomarker testing. These initial studies identified the need to educate patients about biomarker testing and provide patients with tangible takeaways that are written in clear, jargon-free language.
LUNGevity Foundation, along with collaborators from the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), the Center for Business Models in Healthcare, and multiple community and academic cancer centers, have built upon this research to create follow-up studies that aim to address some of these challenges faced by lung cancer patients.
“The long-term goal of this research is to validate a tool that patients and health care providers can use during initial diagnosis that will ensure biomarker testing is ordered,” explains Nikki Martin, Senior Director of Precision Medicine Initiatives at LUNGevity Foundation. “The hope is that the tool will also improve communication around biomarker testing and the patient’s test results so patients and caregivers can better understand their treatment decisions.”
The tool being studied is the “4R Care Sequence® for Care Initiation and Workup.” It is a one-page paper plan that clearly indicates the sequence and timeline for diagnosis, biomarker testing and other tests, scans, consultations, and treatments based on the healthcare team’s established process. By showing the length of time it takes to complete biomarker testing and highlighting the types of activities patients can be doing while waiting for their biomarker test results, it helps set patients and providers on a path to have the complete results before deciding on the care plan.
Recent findings from LUNGevity’s research were shared at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, highlighting the patient experiences with biomarker testing at five hospitals. Read the e-abstract here.
“This phase of the research sets the baseline—it helps us understand where the patients currently are in their understanding of biomarker testing, without any extra communication tools,” says Martin. “Then, we can move into sharing findings from the next phase of the study—pilot studies using the 4R tool to see if patients’ experiences improve.”
“This research sets us up to study the effectiveness of the 4R Care Sequence plan to improve patient awareness of the role of biomarker testing and the importance of waiting for your results before making a health care decision,” says Martin. “If successful, these studies will enhance the way hospitals communicate with lung cancer patients to ensure patients are getting the information they need to make the best choices for their health.”