Journal Article

Peers without fears? Barriers to effective communication among primary care physicians and oncologists about diagnostic delays in cancer.

Lipitz-Snyderman A; Kale M; Robbins L; Pfister D; Fortier E; Pocus V; Chimonas S; Weingart SN.

Problems with the primary care–subspecialty referral process can lead to diagnostic delays. This focus group study of oncologists and primary care physicians examined insights from clinicians about communicating with other clinicians regarding delays in diagnosis. The analysis revealed fears about giving and receiving feedback during the cancer diagnostic process. Respondents had significant concern about affecting collegial relationships and expressed a desire for a formal mechanism for communication. Lack of clear responsibility was also viewed as a barrier to communication. The authors conclude that enhancing safety culture to promote open blame-free feedback among treating clinicians could enhance timeliness and accuracy of diagnosis.