A Network-Based Mixed Methods Approach to Analyze Current Perspectives on Personalized Oncological Medicine in Austria.
Stelzer IV., Sierawska A., Buyx A., Simon J.
Personalized medicine (PM) to tailor healthcare (HC) to the individual, is a promising but challenging concept. So far, no study exists investigating stakeholders' perspectives on PM in oncology in Austria potentially hindering implementation, which was the aim of this study. We performed semi-structured interviews among experts (n = 14) and cancer patients (n = 2) of the Vienna General Hospital and the Medical University of Vienna and analyzed them by a mixed methods network theoretical approach. Study results show a great variety of topics addressed by the interviewees. Clear differences in the topic selection between patients and experts could be observed. Patient-doctor relationship was the most prominent theme among experts, whereas HC systems and public health in PM was more relevant for the patients. Although promising new molecular pathology methods were explicitly mentioned, the experts believed that their practical implementation and the implementation of PM in standard care will take a long time in Austria. A variety of concerns regarding PM were mentioned by the experts, including communication issues and knowledge gaps. Besides important insights into the current situation of PM in Austria, the study has shown that network theory is a powerful tool for analyzing qualitative interview data.