Evidence shows that cancer survivors often report difficulties in communicating with oncologists, general practitioners and nurses, and to establish a link with social services, which can be of particular importance to reduce the risk of negative quality-of-life outcomes. Therefore, it is imperative to develop interventions to improve communication between survivors, health and social care providers. The action will be implemented taking into account the assumption that communication between patients and clinicians embraces three core attributes of ‘patient-centered’ care: (1) consideration of patients’ needs, perspectives, and individual experiences; (2) provision of opportunities to patients to participate in their care (‘self-management’); and (3) enhancement of the patient-clinician-nursing relationship.
This action supports the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan objective to improve the quality of life for cancer patients, survivors and carers and links with the European Health Data Space and the European Cancer Patient Digital Centre, and implements the EU4Health Programme’s general objective of improving and fostering health in the Union (Article 3, point (a)) through the specific objectives defined in Article 4, points (a), (f) and (g) of Regulation (EU) 2021/522.
OBJECTIVES, SCOPE AND ACTIVITIES
The aim of the action is to improve the quality of life and health status of cancer survivors, and to address their potential needs through the development and support for the wide use of new approaches to communication.
A ‘Cancer Survivor Smart Card’ will link with a ’resource’ function to give access to best practices, guidelines and recommendations specifically targeted to cancer survivors, with a view to helping them to address or to connect with professionals in different areas, to deal with the most common issues that survivors face, such as insufficient management of late and long-term effects of treatment, unmet psychosocial needs, self-management, pain management, and issues related to rehabilitation, emotional distress, tumour recurrence and metastatic disease.
The action will support the development, delivery and usability of a personalised ‘Cancer Survivor Smart Card’ by 2022. The smart card, in the form of an interoperable portable eCard or app, will store certain information related to the monitoring and follow-up of the survivor, including the survivor’s clinical history and follow-up. The smart card will allow connection with the health professionals responsible for the individual’s follow-up, including the survivor’s general practitioner, to improve healthcare provider and survivor communication on the survivor’s worries, questions and other matters of relevance to improve the survivor’s quality of life. The action will involve patients’ groups and health and social care providers, in order to apply a participatory and co-creative approach to help with the development of the tool, and to coach a group of ‘card-users’ to pilot the smart card’s usage once it has been developed, in preparation for the wider application phase.
EXPECTED RESULTS AND IMPACT
The co-creation, piloting, promotion, and use of the ‘Cancer Survivor Smart Card’ is expected to improve patient-centred communication between cancer survivors and health and social care providers, through the wide use of communication tools and the application of new approaches to communication to improve quality of life, promote healing and reduce suffering.
This is likely to improve the quality of life of cancer patients, including that of children and young cancer survivors, through dissemination of best practices on issues such as psychological support, self-management, pain management and professional re-integration. The action will also facilitate the portability and the sharing of data from medical records.
The action will ensure a shared and equal access to high-quality information and data, and best practices for cancer survivors across the Union. No country can reach the same results alone, in particular considering that survivorship is still an area that requires additional evidence-based information, and that a sharing approach will ensure the improvement of the quality of life of cancer survivors.