Project Summary

This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.

What is the research about?

Patients with cancer may have untreated symptoms, which can lead to poor quality of life and low satisfaction with care. Helping patients communicate with their care teams about their symptoms, values, and preferences can ensure that their care meets their needs.

Supportive cancer care, or SCC, is a program that helps patients make treatment choices that work best for them. SCC combines symptom management and advance care planning, or ACP. ACP helps people plan for future health care if they become unable to speak for themselves.

In this study, the research team is comparing how well team-based SCC and web-based SCC work to improve quality of life among patients with cancer.

Who can this research help?

Results may help patients with cancer and their doctors when considering ways to provide SCC.

What is the research team doing?

The research team is enrolling 2,996 adult patients who have a new cancer diagnosis. Patients are receiving care at one of 24 cancer clinics in the United States. The team is assigning patients by chance to receive team- or web-based SCC for one year.

In team-based SCC, a health coach shares SCC and ACP educational materials with patients in person or by phone. The coach answers patients’ questions and discusses their symptoms, values, and goals for care. Then, the coach helps patients develop advance directives. Advance directives are written statements that describe a patient’s wishes for care if they are not able to communicate. 

In web-based SCC, patients receive the same SCC and ACP educational materials through email or their electronic health record. But patients don’t work with a health coach.

At the start of the study and again 3 and 12 months later, the research team is asking patients about their:

  • Quality of life
  • Satisfaction with care
  • Decision making
  • Confidence to manage and improve their health
  • Health care use

The research team is also looking at patients’ health records to learn about their symptoms and goals for care.

Patients with cancer, caregivers, cancer doctors, and health insurers are helping to plan and conduct this study.

Research methods at a glance

Design ElementDescription
DesignRandomized controlled trial
Population2,996 patients ages 21 and older with a new cancer diagnosis
  • Team-based SCC
  • Web-based SCC

Primary: health-related quality of life

Secondary: patient activation, satisfaction with care, satisfaction with decision, palliative care use, hospice care use, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, documentation of goals of care discussions, and documentation of symptom discussions

Timeframe  Timeframe Length of follow-up for collecting data on primary outcomes. View Glossary 3-month follow-up for primary outcome

*Patient-Centered Economic Outcomes Funding Supplement 
This study received supplemental funding to build on existing PCORI-funded comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies to improve the understanding of appropriate costs and other economic burdens that are meaningful and inclusive to patients, caregivers and other stakeholders.

Project Information

Manali Patel, MD, MPH, MS
The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
Comparative Effectiveness Trial of Two Supportive Cancer Care Delivery Models for Adults with Cancer

Key Dates

July 2021
February 2028

Study Registration Information


Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 28, 2024