Quality of Life Research

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 5–14 | Cite as

Physicians' perspective on quality of life: An exploratory study of oncologists

  • K. M. Taylor
  • K. G. Macdonald
  • A. Bezjak
  • P. Ng
  • A. D. DePetrillo
Research Papers


There is an implicit assumption that physicians incorporate quality of life (QOL) information in clinical decision-making. However, very limited data exists on how physicians view QOL information and how they actually use it. To explore this issue, an in-depth study was conducted using a semistructured interview guide, with 60 oncologists in Canada and the USA. While the majority of respondents perceived QOL as important they reported a tendency to use it informally and not in all situations. Key findings include the belief expressed by 88% of respondents that the term QOL could be defined, although they differed in their definitions. Although 85% stated that QOL can be formally measured, only a third perceived that the current instruments provide valid and reliable data. Respondents noted a number of significant benefits and drawbacks of using QOL data in their clinical practice that had not been previously noted in the literature. For example, its use as an endpoint in clinical trials was generally perceived to enhance both physician and patient participation. A drawback noted was that including QOL might adversely affect the decision-making process. These findings have been used to develop a self-administered questionnaire (MD-QOL) which will test the generalizability of these findings.

Key words

Decision-making oncology physician behaviour quality of life 


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Copyright information

© Rapid Science Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Taylor
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  • K. G. Macdonald
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Bezjak
    • 4
  • P. Ng
    • 3
  • A. D. DePetrillo
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Administrative StudiesYork UniversityNorth YorkCanada
  2. 2.Department of NursingYork UniversityNorth YorkCanada
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsYork UniversityNorth YorkCanada
  4. 4.Department of Radiation OncologyOntario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret HospitalTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of Surgical OncologyOntario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret HospitalTorontoCanada
  6. 6.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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