Prioritised cancer patient experience indicators

Development of prioritised patient experience indicators for the Patient Centred Quality Cancer System Program

Cancer Institute NSW
Duration: May 2015 – April 2016

Journal article

Williams KE, Sansoni J, Morris D and Thompson C (2018) A Delphi study to develop indicators of cancer patient experience for quality improvement. Supportive Care in Cancer, 26 (1): 129-138.


The Cancer Institute NSW commissioned CHSD to develop a suite of prioritised cancer patient experience indicators to support quality improvement efforts within NSW local health districts. This work is occurring within the context of increasing interest within the health system in patient-reported experience measures and patient-reported outcome measures. The rationale is that through monitoring indicators of patient experience, cancer services within local health districts in NSW will improve their understanding of how patients experience care and identify areas for quality improvements and service redesign.

What we did

Cancer Institute NSW

The project methodology included three core components:

  1. A literature scan to support the design of the survey instrument for the Delphi study.
  2. Implementation of a Delphi study with academic/technical experts, health care professionals, consumers and carers with appropriate backgrounds in cancer patient experience.
  3. Facilitation of a series of workshops to produce a suite of prioritised cancer patient experience indicators.

The literature scan focused on identifying the domains, domain elements, exemplar items, and possible indicators derived from measurement tools and survey items for use in the first round survey of the Delphi study.

A modified Delphi study was implemented to elicit expert opinion about the most important domains of patient experience to measure. Evidence demonstrates that the Delphi technique is an effective and reliable data collection method that is particularly useful when there is little empirical knowledge and thus uncertainty surrounding the area being investigated. Respondents to the survey were categorised into three expert groups (consumers, healthcare professionals and academic/technical experts). A total of 158/202 surveys were returned in Round 1 and 112/149 were returned in Round 2, with each group being equally represented. A high degree of consensus was observed among respondents regarding the importance of measuring certain domains and domain elements of cancer patient experience.

Three workshops were also facilitated in late 2015, with a total of 51 participants (including consumers, healthcare professionals and academic/technical experts). These consultation workshops were very valuable, providing numerous useful insights and critiques of the draft indicators, and again reflecting a high degree of consensus among participants.

The final project report was submitted in April 2016. The report consisted of two volumes; a synthesis report and a more detailed companion technical report which provided a comprehensive explanation of the key methodological steps undertaken to develop the prioritised indicators of cancer patient experience. The finalised suite of 20 prioritised cancer patient experience indicators were developed to assess adult cancer patient experience across most phases of the patient journey, for diverse care settings and all tumour groups.


Project team: Jan Sansoni, Cristina Thompson, Kate Williams, Darcy Morris

Last reviewed: 3 August, 2018

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