What’s the purpose of the CCRC?

Our new Center is set up to study new ways to communicate about cancer, both between patients and healthcare providers, and the sorts of communication that providers have together, for patients.

What’s the quickest way to communicate my research?

Sometimes in dissemination, the quickest isn’t best. Specialty media and mass media are quickest for reaching a lot of people, but they typically have little impact on individuals unless the messages are repeated many times and, ideally, reinforced through other means, too, like people talking with each other.

Who can I talk to with a question?

Good question! For questions about dissemination research, contact our research associate, Borsika Rabin. For questions about organizational change, contact Jim Dearing. Questions about the Center itself can go to Sarah Madrid.

Has this Center been operating long?

The CCRC is heading into its fifth year and is still growing.

Why should I be interested in dissemination or implementation research?

A very good question. Many policymakers and researchers now recognize that while in the U.S. we have funded a great deal of basic research, most of it never ends up being used, let alone improving something like health or healthcare. Dissemination and implementation research sort of picks up where traditional research ends, by improving how research results are communicated and put to use.

Are you only funded by NCI?

Most of our funding is through the CECCR Initiative of NCI, however, we have also received funding from the National Coalition of Cancer Survivors.

I’m a primary care doc and I think we have many of the same problems with communication that oncologists do. What can we do today to improve the way we communicate with patients?

Provider training, even just staff discussions together to highlight potential problems, can lead to a shared understanding of problems or opportunities for improvement. We’ve seen a number of practice-based initiatives using LEAN and other methodologies improve care coordination, communication, and patient hand-offs.

It can also be very instructive – providing a teachable moment – to bring in a group of your patients for their perspectives and feedback about your department’s practices, especially if such meetings are facilitated by someone from outside your unit.

How is your CECCR different from the other CECCRs?

Our Center focuses on how organizational processes in healthcare systems affect what goes on in conversations with patients. The other CECCRs have other emphases.

I’m a grad student and I want to make sure that my research helps the people I’m studying and others, too. Can you help me do this?

Yes. See the tools section of this website. We list lots of checklists, guidelines, and quizzes to help you design your research so that it will benefit people other than just researchers.

Are the tools that you’re using to communicate about cancer effective for other topics, too?

Many times, yes. In fact, most of the tools on this website were developed for use with other topics such as encouraging people to recycle, monitoring diabetes, and HIV prevention.

Do you fund research?

Yes, we fund pilot studies about effective communication and about care coordination within Cancer Research Network institutions. For many other funding opportunities see our funding page.

Are you part of Kaiser?

Yes, we’re part of the Institute for Health Research in Kaiser Permanente Colorado. But we’re more than a Kaiser research center. We bridge 15 healthcare organizations, all of which are members of the Cancer Research Network. Come see us in Denver!

What types of researchers work in your Center?

Behavioral researchers with degrees in psychology, sociology, communication, and education; public health and health services researchers; researchers who study organizations; health economists; and doctors who also study clinical processes.

Is there anything special about the study of cancer communication?

Cancer does present many emotional and important decisions for people, and it’s often unexpected. So talking about it can be difficult or incomplete, even hurtful. Cancer can also last for a very long time, with different types of communication important to the patient as time goes by.

Do you do research about new technologies?

Yes, but other CECCR centers do more of this than we do. We do study how the people who provide healthcare use communication technologies, and how that use affects other aspects of office work. So ours is a sociotechnical focus, not just a technical focus.

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