Study suggests surgical oncologists should increase referrals, as well as earlier initiation.

In a retrospective quality improvement study from the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting, Rubina Ratnaparkhi, MD, et al. analyzed outpatient specialty palliative care referrals at a single specialty cancer center. Focusing on referral sources, timeliness, and completion rates, the researchers found that most referrals were made by medical oncologists, with a median time of 20 days from referral to the first appointment, although 27% of patients did not schedule an appointment. The study suggests increasing referrals from surgical oncologists and initiating palliative care earlier, providing a model for improving palliative care use at other centers.

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