Patient Wellness Tool Focus Group

November 2019 Vol 10, No 11
Mary Buffington, MSN, RN, OCN, ONN-CG, CLC
The Burnout Ward
Brittany Engle, RN, BSN, OCN
Kristen Gipper, BSN, OCN
Sarah Cannon
Katie Farley, BSN, RN, OCN, ONN-CG
Oncology Nurse Navigator
Engagement Committee Member
Sarah Cannon, The Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare
Elissa Redding, RN-BC, BSN
Sally Tenorio, RN, BSN

Background: Studies on the impact of cancer on life goals are limited, and the majority of tools used were author developed, making it difficult to compare across studies.1 Unless an organization has developed a life goal screening tool or the care team has had a conversation that specifically addressed life goals, an opportunity may have been missed to support the patient to achieve their life goals and improve their quality of life. To address this need, a patient wellness tool was developed at Sarah Cannon’s HealthONE market based on research related to patient goal setting.2

Objective: To elicit feedback from a focus group of patients and providers on the ability of the Patient Wellness Tool to address life goals. From this feedback, we will make changes and improvements to best benefit our patients.

Methods: The tool was shared with 14 patients and a physician workgroup within the HealthONE market. With the Patient Wellness Tool, a survey of 4 questions was given for patients to review and provide feedback. Of the 14 patients, 11 completed the survey and provided feedback.

Results: A survey was administered along with the wellness tool that evaluated current patient experience and perception of the tool. Of the 11 participants, 6 were female and 5 were male. The age range of participants was between 36 and 77 years. Cancer diagnoses included brain, lung, pancreatic, breast, and colorectal. Over 40% of patients had advanced or metastatic disease. They reported minimal to no conversation about life goals with their care team. However, the majority of patients surveyed reported the importance of discussing life goals as a 6 or higher. The majority of patients reported the Patient Wellness Tool was helpful with addressing their life goals.

Tool Feedback: General feedback was positive from physicians and patients, except for some verbiage throughout the tool where medical jargon was used. Changes will be based on this feedback.

Conclusion: The data demonstrated that the tool was useful and for the most part positively received by patients and providers. Our focus group was successful in identifying needed changes to the tool prior to us piloting the tool to patients in our market. Although it was not studied during the survey, an observation made by navigators who provided the tool to the focus group was that it helped improve their conversations with patients. It helped navigators to have candid and meaningful conversations, despite how the patient felt about the tool. For example, a patient who had originally expressed that the tool was not used came back to the navigator 2 weeks later and stated the tool made her evaluate life goals and future plans. This led to her discussing her life goals with her family and her care team. The next step will be to pilot the updated tool over the next year within the HealthONE market.


  1. Hullmann SE, Robb SL, Rand KL. Life goals in patients with cancer: a systematic review of the literature. Psychooncology. 2016;25:387-399.
  2. Buffington M, Engle B, Godoff J, et al. Patient wellness assessment tool development. Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship. 2018;9 (11):459. Abstract.
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Last modified: August 10, 2023

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