EHR Screening Reveals Financial Toxicity in Most Patients With Breast Cancer

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

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By: Jessica Nye, PhD

From: oncologynurseadvisor.com

Preliminary data from a program that systematically screened patients for financial status indicated that financial hardship was prevalent among many patients with cancer. These findings were presented during the 2021 ASCO Quality Care Symposium.

Financial toxicity has been associated with poorer quality of life and earlier mortality. Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York, New York, implemented a routine screening program in March 2021 using electronic health records (EHR). Patient advocates developed the systematic screening process, which used 2 questions from the Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity (COST) tool:

  • “I know that I have enough money in savings, retirement, or assets to cover the costs of my treatment.”
  • “I worry about the financial problems I will have in the future as a result of my illness or treatment.”

At the breast oncology clinic, 1358 patients who were due to undergo financial screening were flagged in the EHR system and asked to respond to the 2 questions through the online patient portal or on paper at check-in. Patient responses were entered into the EHR during assessment of their vital signs.