National Institutes of Health (NIH) and AHRQ should create and lead an initiative to develop a standardized, transdisciplinary taxonomy and nomenclature for psychosocial health services. This initiative should aim to incorporate this taxonomy and nomenclature into such databases as the National Library of Medicine’s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), PsycINFO, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), and EMBASE.


Recommendation 9: Research priorities. Organizations sponsoring research in oncology care should include the following areas among their funding priorities:

  • Further development of reliable, valid, and efficient tools and strategies for use by clinical practices to ensure that all patients with cancer receive care that meets the standard of psychosocial care set forth in recommendation 1. These tools and strategies should include

    • approaches for improving patient–provider communication and providing decision support to cancer patients;

    • screening instruments that can be used to identify individuals with any of a comprehensive array of psychosocial health problems;

    • needs assessment instruments to assist in planning psychosocial services;

    • illness and wellness management interventions; and

    • approaches for effectively linking patients with services and coordinating care.

  • Identification of more effective psychosocial services to treat mental health problems and to assist patients in adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors, such as smoking cessation, exercise, and dietary change. This effort should include

    • identifying populations for whom specific psychosocial services are most effective, and psychosocial services most effective for specific populations; and

    • development of standard outcome measures for assessing the effectiveness of these services.

  • Creation and testing of reimbursement arrangements that will promote psychosocial care and reward its best performance.

Research on the use of these tools, strategies, and services should also focus on how best to ensure delivery of appropriate psychosocial services to vulnerable populations, such as those with low literacy, older adults, the socially isolated, and members of cultural minorities.



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