Thematic Analysis of Challenges of Care Coordination for Underinsured and Uninsured Cancer Survivors with Chronic Conditions

Bijal A. Balasubramanian, Robin T. Higashi, Serena A. Rodriguez, Navid Sadeghi, Noel O. Santini, Simon Craddock Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Importance: Although a majority of underinsured and uninsured patients with cancer have multiple comorbidities, many lack consistent connections with a primary care team to manage chronic conditions during and after cancer treatment. This presents a major challenge to delivering high-quality comprehensive and coordinated care. Objective: To describe challenges and opportunities for coordinating care in an integrated safety-net system for patients with both cancer and other chronic conditions. Design, Setting, and Participants: This multimodal qualitative study was conducted from May 2016 to July 2019 at a county-funded, vertically integrated safety-net health system including ambulatory oncology, urgent care, primary care, and specialty care. Participants were 93 health system stakeholders (clinicians, leaders, clinical, and administrative staff) strategically and snowball sampled for semistructured interviews and observation during meetings and daily processes of care. Data collection and analysis were conducted iteratively using a grounded theory approach, followed by systematic thematic analysis to organize data, review, and interpret comprehensive findings. Data were analyzed from March 2019 to March 2020. Main Outcomes and Measures: Multilevel factors associated with experiences of coordinating care for patients with cancer and chronic conditions among oncology and primary care stakeholders. Results: Among interviews and observation of 93 health system stakeholders, system-level factors identified as being associated with care coordination included challenges to accessing primary care, lack of communication between oncology and primary care clinicians, and leadership awareness of care coordination challenges. Clinician-level factors included unclear role delineation and lack of clinician knowledge and preparedness to manage the effects of cancer and chronic conditions. Conclusions and Relevance: Primary care may play a critical role in delivering coordinated care for patients with cancer and chronic diseases. This study's findings suggest a need for care delivery strategies that bridge oncology and primary care by enhancing communication, better delineating roles and responsibilities across care teams, and improving clinician knowledge and preparedness to care for patients with cancer and chronic conditions. Expanding timely access to primary care is also key, albeit challenging in resource-limited safety-net settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2119080
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 13 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Thematic Analysis of Challenges of Care Coordination for Underinsured and Uninsured Cancer Survivors with Chronic Conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this