We also found that with more oncology experience, physicians were more likely to perceive greater benefits of the drug despite its preliminary or exploratory nature. And we found that experience did not impact attention to the disclosure, time spent viewing the sales aids, or preference for a technical as compared with nontechnical disclosure. These unexpected findings raise the question of why oncologists and PCPs with oncology experience may think that a drug is more beneficial than PCPs without oncology experience.
How Can We Improve Understanding Among Physicians?
Data displays and sales aids can be improved to increase understanding and reduce misinterpretation among physicians. One strategy is to include a disclosure in data the display presentation to provide relevant contextual information because, when noticed, disclosures effectively convey information and can help prevent misinterpretations.7,8
Data limitation disclosures also may help physicians understand data with limited clinical utility. In our study, participants exposed to the disclosure of clinical uncertainty and data limitations were less likely to say the data in the sales aid offered strong evidence than participants who did not see a disclosure of clinical uncertainty.6 This may be particularly useful in helping physicians interpret nonsignificant findings or when the disclosure directly addresses limited clinical benefit.
Also, unlike data limitation disclosures, which require tailoring to each data display, the disclosure of clinical uncertainty uses general language that can apply across different types of data displays. We found that in some situations, the disclosure of clinical uncertainty helped physicians accurately interpret the strength of the evidence. More research is needed to establish best practices for using disclosures to convey contextual information in sales aids and other promotional communications.
- Do oncologists have a higher threshold for uncertainty and a lower threshold for data needed to establish whether a drug is beneficial?
- Do PCPs and oncologists have different risk-benefit tradeoffs or have different decision-making processes when deciding whether a drug has clinical utility?
- How common is it for physicians of different specialties and training to encounter preliminary or exploratory data with uncertain clinical utility?