PURPOSE To describe the length of encounter during visits where goals-of-care (GoC) discussions were expected to take place. METHODS Oncologists from community, academic, municipal, and rural hospitals were randomly assigned to receive a coaching model of communication skills to facilitate GoC discussions with patients with newly diagnosed advanced solid-tumor cancer with a prognosis of, 2 years. Patients were surveyed after the first restaging visit regarding the quality of the GoC discussion on a scale of 0-10 (0 5 worst; 10 5 best), with $ 8 indicating a high-quality GoC discussion. Visits were audiotaped, and total encounter time was measured. RESULTS The median face-to-face time oncologists spent during a GoC discussion was 15 minutes (range, 10-20 minutes). Among the different hospital types, there was no significant difference in encounter time. There was no difference in the length of the encounter whether a high-quality GoC discussion took place or not (15 v 14 minutes; P 5 .9). If there was imaging evidence of cancer progression, the median encounter time was 18 minutes compared with 13 minutes for no progression (P 5 .03). In a multivariate model, oncologist productivity, patient age, and Medicare coverage affected duration of the encounter. CONCLUSION Oncologists can complete high-quality GoC discussions in 15 minutes. These data refute the common misperception that discussing such matters with patients with advanced cancer requires significant time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1499-E1506
JournalJCO Oncology Practice
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


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