A system based only on physician or patient-initiated referrals to psychological services might fail to identify or overlook a significant portion of emotionally distressed patients in need. Systemic screening promotes equal access to these services.
DART is a tool that can enhance the detection of physical and emotional distress in cancer patients. DART employs standardized and validated measures of physical distress, anxiety, depression and social difficulties to draw attention to areas of difficulty or distress for patients. The electronic component of DART is a web-based, touch-screen, tool that gathers patient input in a user-friendly way and provides easy-to-read print-outs for the patients and for the oncology team.
There is evidence of increased staff engagement, patient and clinician satisfaction, and documentation of clinical interventions.
This focused, targeted approach will result in optimal use of resources while providing personalized cancer medicine within Princess Margaret.