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Looking for a needle in a haystack: Searching for psychosocial data in cancer patients medical notes

Pirri, C., Katris, P., Trotter, J. and Bayliss, E. (2003) Looking for a needle in a haystack: Searching for psychosocial data in cancer patients medical notes. In: 38th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, 2-5 October 2003, Sheraton Hotel, Perth, Western Australia.

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Audit has been defined as ‘the systematic, quantifiable comparison of specific clinical practices against explicit current standards in order to identify opportunities to improve the quality of patient care’. Translated this means evaluating the care a patient receives including procedures for diagnosis and treatment and reviewing the outcome from the patient’s perspective. Clinical audit’s main objective is to review the quality of care rather than the cost of providing it, and unlike research which aims to identify the best treatment, audit puts research into practice by measuring the gap between actual practice and evidence based practice. The assessment and then the improvement of quality are widely regarded as forming a cycle of activity which together produce continuing improvements in quality. Many cancer patients experience problems which are psychological in nature. To date most clinical audit efforts in cancer have focused almost exclusively on medical aspects of care. Current care provision is based primarily on the biomedical model with medical interventions offered to address psychosocial issues such as distress, fatigue etc. Most research conducted on psychosocia1 aspects of cancer care is cross-sectional multiple time series questionnaire administration. The primary emphasis here being multivariate statistical analyses in between group designs. The authors report findings from a psychosocial care clinical audit model where 198 cancer patient notes were reviewed extensively by hand in an attempt to add value to quality of life data already collected by self-report questionnaire over time.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: Australian Psychological Society
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