of research findings on psychosocial health care, and therefore makes the following recommendation.
Recommendation: Standardized nomenclature. To facilitate research on and quality measurement of psychosocial interventions, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (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.
Provision of Information
As discussed in Chapter 1, individuals who are being treated for cancer express the need for a wide range of information on their clinical condition and care. Patients need information about the onset, progression, treatment, and management of their disease and help in interpreting sometimes overwhelming quantities of complex information. They need to be able to find out about the normal course of their condition, the treatments that are available, and those treatments’ expected outcomes and side effects so they can make treatment decisions that are consistent with their preferences and care for themselves on a daily basis. Continuing changes in health care delivery and financing also make it increasingly important for cancer patients to have information that will help ensure that they receive high-quality care. This means having access to information about the qualifications of physicians; the relative quality ratings for hospitals and the insurance plans in which they participate; and costs for diagnostic tests, treatments, and hospitalization. It also means being able to obtain information on such services as transportation and other logistical resources, financial assistance, and support groups in the area.
As with the array of psychosocial health services generally, the effectiveness of providing patients with these different types of information has not uniformly been the subject of research. The provision of information about insurance coverage or sources for obtaining wigs, financial support, or logistical assistance, for example, typically is not questioned as a useful service. The broad range of voluntary organizations that provide such information at no cost to consumers and the volume of patient inquiries