WIHI: Now What? Best Practices for Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients

Date: May 21, 2015


  • Leonard L. Berry, PhD, University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Mays Business School, Texas A&M; IHI Senior Fellow
  • Pat Rutherford, RN, MS, Vice President, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Jeffrey Landercasper, MD, FACS, Gundersen Health System
  • Robert Anthony Chapman, MD, Senior Staff Physician, Medical Oncology, Henry Ford Hospital

When someone is first diagnosed with cancer, those first few days and weeks can be terribly disorienting. Even when health care professionals and staff try to provide clear information about next steps, the person who’s supposed to be taking everything in may be severely distracted. This can be true no matter what type of cancer; but when the news is especially frightening, we can all appreciate why, for some patients, nothing computes. Are there particular ways the health care system can behave, best practices that can be deployed, to ease this initial, hard part of the cancer journey? Yes, say a growing number of cancer treatment providers and patients and observers.
We have well-known marketing and health care service expert Leonard Berry to thank for helping us shape and anchor this WIHI; Len has spent the past year interviewing more than 350 patients, family members, oncologists, and others to get to the heart of current problems and missteps when it comes to supporting those who are newly diagnosed with cancer. As Len puts it, “A cancer diagnosis is a fireball that turns a patient’s and family’s lives upside down. How can we improve the overall experience? What are the possibilities to ease the path in these first, highly emotional days?” 



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