Survivorship care plans are intended to improve coordination of care for the nearly 14 million cancer survivors in the United States. Evidence suggests that survivorship care plans (SCPs) have positive outcomes for survivors, health-care professionals, and cancer programs, and several high-profile organizations now recommend SCP use. Nevertheless, SCP use remains limited among health-care professionals in United States cancer programs. Knowledge of barriers to SCP use is limited in part because extant studies have used anecdotal evidence to identify determinants. This study uses the theoretical domains framework to identify relevant constructs that are potential determinants of SCP use among United States health-care professionals.
We conducted semi-structured interviews to assess the relevance of 12 theoretical domains in predicting SCP use among 13 health-care professionals in 7 cancer programs throughout the United States with diverse characteristics. Relevant theoretical domains were identified through thematic coding of interview transcripts, identification of specific beliefs within coded text units, and mapping of specific beliefs onto theoretical constructs.
We found the following theoretical domains (based on specific beliefs) to be potential determinants of SCP use: health-care professionals’ beliefs about the consequences of SCP use (benefit to survivors, health-care professionals, and the system as a whole); motivation and goals regarding SCP use (advocating SCP use; extent to which using SCPs competed for health-care professionals’ time); environmental context and resources (whether SCPs were delivered at a dedicated visit and whether a system, information technology, and funding facilitated SCP use); and social influences (whether using SCPs is an organizational priority, influential people support SCP use, and people who could assist with SCP use buy into using SCPs). Specific beliefs mapped onto the following psychological constructs: outcome expectancies, intrinsic motivation, goal priority, resources, leadership, and team working.
Previous studies have explored a limited range of determinants of SCP use. Our findings suggest a more comprehensive list of potential determinants that could be leveraged to promote SCP use. These results are particularly timely as cancer programs face impending SCP use requirements. Future work should develop instruments to measure the potential determinants and assess their relative influence on SCP use.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0167-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.