INTRODUCTION: Care for US cancer survivors is often fragmented, contributing to poor health outcomes. Care and outcomes may improve when survivors and follow-up care providers receive survivorship care plans (SCPs), written documents containing information regarding cancer diagnosis, treatment, surveillance plans, and health promotion. However, implementing SCPs is challenging. As such, we sought to identify strategies for successfully implementing SCPs.
METHODS: We measured SCP implementation using performance data from cancer programs participating in the American Society of Clinical Oncology Quality Oncology Practice Initiative, an oncologist-led quality assessment and improvement program. We used semistructured interviews with cancer program employees (eg, physicians) to identify strategies for successfully implementing SCPs by comparing approaches in cancer programs that, according to Quality Oncology Practice Initiative performance indicators, developed and delivered SCPs to a relatively small proportion of eligible survivors and their follow-up care providers (ie, low performers; n = 6 participants in five programs) with approaches among programs with better performance (ie, moderate performers; n = 15 participants in nine programs).
RESULTS: Ten of 14 cancer programs developed SCPs for ≥ 50% of eligible survivors; two of 14 delivered SCPs to any survivors; and eight of 14 delivered SCPs to ≥ 25% of follow-up care providers. We found that moderate performers proactively addressed SCP requirements, leveraged requirements to improve survivorship care, set internal targets, automated implementation, had active leaders and champions, and tasked appropriate employees with SCP implementation.
CONCLUSION: SCP implementation remains challenging. We identified strategies for successfully implementing SCPs. Future research should examine how cancer programs have achieved these strategies; findings could contribute to an understanding of the changes needed to implement comprehensive survivorship care.