Provider Communication: The Key to Care Coordination Between Tribal Primary Care and Community Oncology Providers

Kathleen Dwyer

Amber Anderson

Mark Doescher

Janis Campbell

Betty Wharton

Zsolt Nagykaldi

care coordination, communication, primary care, tribal health care, providers
ONF 2022, 49(1), 21-35. DOI: 10.1188/22.ONF.21-35

Purpose: To explore tribal primary care providers’ and community oncology providers’ experiences of caring for individuals with cancer to inform intervention development and improve cancer care coordination in this high-need population.

Participants & Setting: 33 tribal primary care providers and 22 nontribal, community-based oncology providers.

Methodologic Approach: A qualitative, descriptive design was used, and 55 semistructured individual interviews were completed. Data were analyzed using conventional inductive content analysis to identify major themes.

Findings: Effective care coordination for individuals with cancer was characterized by timely communication. Providers in both settings identified unhindered communication between providers as a key element of care coordination. Identification of points of contact in each setting enhanced information exchange. As patient needs related to cancer care intensified, care coordination increased in complexity.

Implications for Nursing: Evaluating strategies to enhance communication between tribal primary care providers and community oncology providers is an important next step in enhancing the coordination of care for tribal individuals with cancer.

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